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Title: A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon - For the Use of Schools and Colleges
Author: Lord, John, 1810-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon - For the Use of Schools and Colleges" ***

[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all
other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has
been maintained.

Page 492: A probable typographical error "Camide, Desmoulins" has been
replaced by "Camille Desmoulin".

The following sentences had illegible words; inserted words are shown
here between "=".

Page 82: "and his mother, Catharine, became virtually the =ruler= of
the nation."

Page 178: "The minority had now become a majority,"--which is not
unusual in revolutionary times,--and proceeded to the work, in good
earnest, which =he= had long contemplated.

Page 487: All classes in France were anxious for it, and =war= was
soon declared.]

                  MODERN HISTORY,
                    FROM THE
                  TIME OF LUTHER
                      TO THE
                 FALL OF NAPOLEON.


                  JOHN LORD, A.M.,
                LECTURER ON HISTORY.


  _Chicago_: S. C. GRIGGS & Co.--_Charleston, S. C._: J. M. Greer &
  Son; Edward Perry & Son.--_Raleigh, N. C._: Williams &
  Lambeth.--_Baltimore, Md._: Cushings & Bailey; W. J. C Dulaney &
  Co.--_New Orleans, La._: Stevens & Seymour.--_Savannah, Ga._: J. M.
  Cooper & Co.--_Macon, Ga._: J. M. Boardman.--_Augusta, Ga._: Thos.
  Richards & Son.--_Richmond, Va._: Woodhouse & Parham.


  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District
  of Massachusetts.


In preparing this History, I make no claim to original and profound
investigations; but the arrangement, the style, and the sentiments,
are my own. I have simply attempted to condense the great and varied
subjects which are presented, so as to furnish a connected narrative
of what is most vital in the history of the last three hundred years,
avoiding both minute details and elaborate disquisitions. It has been
my aim to write a book, which should be neither a chronological table
nor a philosophical treatise, but a work adapted to the wants of young
people in the various stages of education, and which, it is hoped,
will also prove interesting to those of maturer age; who have not the
leisure to read extensive works, and yet who wish to understand the
connection of great events since the Protestant Reformation. Those
characters, institutions, reforms, and agitations, which have had the
greatest influence in advancing society, only have been described, and
these not to the extent which will satisfy the learned or the curious.
Dates and names, battles and sieges, have not been disregarded; but
more attention has been given to those ideas and to those men by whose
influence and agency great changes have taken place. In a work so
limited, and yet so varied, marginal references to original
authorities have not been deemed necessary; but a list of standard and
accessible authors is furnished, at the close of each chapter, which
the young student, seeking more minute information, can easily
consult. A continuation of this History to the present time might seem
desirable; but it would be difficult to condense the complicated
events of the last thirty years into less than another volume. Instead
of an unsatisfactory compend, especially of subjects concerning which
there are great differences of opinion, and considerable warmth of
feeling, useful tables of important events are furnished in the
Appendix. I have only to add, that if I have succeeded in remedying,
in some measure, the defects of those dry compendiums, which are used
for want of living histories; if I have combined what is instructive
with what is entertaining; and especially if I shall impress the
common mind, even to a feeble degree, with those great moral truths
which history ought to teach, I shall feel that my agreeable labor is
not without its reward.

                                        J. L.

  BOSTON, _October, 1849_.



  (pp. 1-9.)

Revival of the Arts -- Influence of Feudalism -- Effects of
Scholasticism -- Ecclesiastical Corruptions -- Papal Infallibility --
The sale of Indulgences -- The Corruptions of the Church -- Necessity
for Reform.


  (pp. 10-29.)

The Early Life of Luther -- Luther's Early Religious Struggles -- The
Ninety-Five Propositions -- Erasmus -- Melancthon -- Leo X. -- The
Leipsic Disputation -- Principles of the Leipsic Disputation -- The
Rights of Private Judgment -- Luther's Elements of Greatness --
Excommunication of Luther -- The Diet of Worms -- Imprisonment at
Wartburg -- Carlstadt -- Thomas Münzer Ulric -- Zwingle -- Controversy
between Luther and Zwingle -- Diet of Augsburg -- League of Smalcalde
-- Death and Character of Luther.


  (pp. 30-44.)

Charles V. -- Spain and France in the Fifteenth Century -- Wars
between Charles and Francis. -- Diet of Spires -- Hostilities between
Charles and Francis -- African War -- Council of Trent -- Treachery of
Maurice -- Captivity of the Landgrave of Hesse -- Heroism of Maurice
-- Misfortunes of Charles -- Treaty of Passau -- Character of Charles.


  (pp. 45-59.)

Rise of Absolute Monarchy -- Henry VIII. -- Rise of Cardinal Wolsey --
Magnificence of Henry VIII. -- Anne Boleyn -- Queen Catharine --
Disgrace and Death of Wolsey -- More -- Cranmer -- Cromwell -- Quarrel
with the Pope -- Suppression of Monasteries -- Execution of Anne
Boleyn -- Anne of Cleves -- Catharine Howard -- Last Days of Henry --
Death of Henry.


  (pp. 60-68.)

War with Scotland -- Rebellions and Discontents -- Rivalry of the
great Nobles -- Religious Reforms -- Execution of Northumberland --
Marriage of the Queen -- Religious Persecution -- Character of Mary --
Accession of Elizabeth.


  (pp. 69-81.)

Mary, Queen of Scots -- John Knox -- Marriage of Mary -- Darnley --
Bothwell -- Civil War in Scotland -- Captivity of Queen Mary --
Execution of Mary -- Military Preparations of Philip II. -- Spanish
Armada -- Irish Rebellion -- The Earl of Essex -- Character of
Elizabeth -- Improvements made in the Reign of Elizabeth --


  (pp. 82-90.)

Catharine de Medicis -- Civil War in France -- Massacre of St.
Bartholomew -- Henry III. -- Henry IV. -- Edict of Nantes --
Improvements during the Reign of Henry IV. -- Peace Scheme of
Henry IV. -- Death of Henry IV. -- France at the Death of Henry IV.


  (pp. 91-96.)

Bigotry of Philip II. -- Revolt of the Netherlands -- Revolt of the
Moriscoes -- Causes of the Decline of the Spanish Monarchy -- The
Increase of Gold and Silver -- Decline of the Spanish Monarchy.


  (pp. 97-107.)

The Roman Power in the Seventeenth Century -- Rise of the Jesuits --
Rapid Spread of the Jesuits -- Extraordinary Virtues of the older
Jesuits -- The Constitution of the Jesuits -- Degeneracy of the
Jesuits -- Evils in the Jesuit System -- The Popes in the Seventeenth
Century -- Nepotism of the Popes -- Rome in the Seventeenth Century.


  (pp. 108-119.)

Political Troubles after the Death of Luther -- Diet of Augsburg --
Commencement of the Thirty Years' War -- The Emperor Frederic -- Count
Wallenstein -- Character of Wallenstein -- Gustavus Adolphus -- Loss
of Magdeburg -- Wallenstein reinstated in Power -- Death of Gustavus
Adolphus -- Assassination of Wallenstein -- Treaty of Westphalia.


  (pp. 120-132.)

Regency of Mary de Medicis -- Rise of Cardinal de Richelieu --
Suppression of the Huguenots -- The Depression of the great Nobles --
Power of Richelieu -- Character of Richelieu -- Effects of Richelieu's
Policy -- Richelieu's Policy -- Cardinal de Retz -- Prince of Condé --
Power of Mazarin -- Death of Mazarin.


  (pp. 133-180.)

Accession of James I. -- The Genius of the Reign of James --
Conspiracy of Sir Walter Raleigh -- Gunpowder Plot -- Persecution of
the Catholics -- Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset -- Greatness and Fall
of Somerset -- Duke of Buckingham -- Lord Bacon -- Trial and Execution
of Raleigh -- Encroachments of James -- Quarrel between James and
Parliament -- Death of James -- The Struggle of Classes -- Rise of
Popular Power -- Quarrel between the King and the Commons -- The
Counsellors of Charles -- Death of Buckingham -- Petition of Right --
Earl of Strafford -- John Hampden -- Insurrection in Scotland -- Long
Parliament -- Rebellion of Ireland -- Flight of the King from London
-- Rise of the Puritans -- Original Difficulties and Differences --
Persecution during the Reign of Elizabeth -- Archbishops Grindal and
Whitgift -- Persecution under James -- Puritans in Exile -- Troubles
in Scotland -- Peculiarities of Puritanism in England -- Conflicts
among the Puritans -- Character of the Puritans -- John Hampden --
Oliver Cromwell -- The King at Oxford -- Cromwell after the Battle of
Marston Moor -- Enthusiasm of the Independents -- Battle of Naseby --
Success of the Parliamentary Army -- Seizure of the King -- Triumph of
the Independents -- Cromwell invades Scotland -- Seizure of the King a
second Time -- Trial of the King.


  (pp. 181-191.)

Storming of Drogheda and Wexford -- Battle of Worcester -- Policy of
Cromwell -- The Rump Parliament -- Dispersion of the Parliament
Cromwell assumes the Protectorship -- The Dutch War -- Cromwell rules
without a Parliament -- The Protectorate -- Regal Government restored.


  (pp. 192-210.)

The Restoration -- Great Public Rejoicings -- Reaction to
Revolutionary Principles -- Excellencies in Charles's Government --
Failure of the Puritan Experiment -- Repeal of the Triennial Bill --
Secret Alliance with Louis XIV. -- Venality and Sycophancy of
Parliament -- Restrictions on the Press -- Habeas Corpus Act -- Titus
Oates -- Oates's Revelations -- Penal Laws against Catholics --
Persecution of Dissenters -- Execution of Russell and Sydney --
Manners and Customs of England -- Milton -- Dryden -- Condition of the
People of England.


  (pp. 211-233.)

Accession of James II. -- Monmouth lands in England -- Battle of
Sedgemoor -- Death of Monmouth -- Brutality of Jeffreys -- Persecution
of the Dissenters -- George Fox -- Persecution of the Quakers --
Despotic Power of James -- Favor extended to Catholics -- High
Commission Court -- Quarrel with the Universities -- Magdalen College
-- Prosecution of the Seven Bishops -- Tyranny and infatuation of
James -- Organized Opposition -- William, Prince of Orange -- Critical
condition of James -- Invasion of England by William -- Flight of the
King -- Consummation of the Revolution -- Declaration of Rights.


  (pp. 234-251.)

The Power and Resources of Louis -- His Habits and Pleasures -- His
Military Ambition -- William, Prince of Orange -- Second Invasion of
Holland -- Dutch War -- Madame de Montespan -- Madame de Maintenon --
League of Augsburg -- Opposing Armies and Generals -- War of the
Spanish Succession -- Duke of Marlborough -- Battle of Blenheim --
Exertions and Necessities of Louis -- Treaty of Utrecht -- Last Days
of Louis -- His Character.


  (pp. 252-270.)

Irish Rebellion -- King James in Ireland -- Freedom of the Press --
Act of Settlement -- Death of William III. -- Character of William --
Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke -- Anne -- The Duke of Marlborough --
Character of Marlborough -- Whigs and Tories -- Dr. Henry Sacheverell
-- Union of Scotland and England -- Duke of Hamilton -- Wits of Queen
Anne's Reign -- Swift -- Pope -- Bolingbroke -- Gay -- Prior --
Writers of the Age of Queen Anne.


  (pp. 271-289.)

Early History of Russia -- The Tartar Conquest -- Accession of Peter
the Great -- Peter's Reforms -- His War with Charles XII. --
Charles XII. -- Building of St. Petersburg -- New War with Sweden --
War with the Turks -- Peter makes a second Tour -- Elevation of
Catharine -- Early History of Sweden -- Introduction of Christianity
-- Gustavus Vasa -- Early Days of Charles XII -- Charles's Heroism --
His Misfortunes -- His Return to Sweden -- His Death.


  (pp. 290-309.)

Accession of George I. -- Sir Robert Walpole -- The Pretender --
Invasion of Scotland -- The South Sea Bubble -- The South Sea Company
-- Opposition of Walpole -- Mania for Speculation -- Bursting of the
South Sea Bubble -- Enlightened policy of Walpole -- East India
Company -- Resignation of Townshend -- Unpopularity of Walpole --
Decline of his power -- John Wesley -- Early life of Wesley --
Whitefield -- Institution of Wesley -- Itinerancy -- Great influence
and power of Wesley.


  (pp. 310-341.)

Commercial Enterprise -- Spanish Conquests and Settlements --
Portuguese Discoveries -- Portuguese Settlements -- Early English
Enterprise -- Sir Walter Raleigh -- London Company incorporated --
Hardships of the Virginia Colony -- New Charter of the London Company
-- Rapid Colonization -- Indian Warfare -- Governor Harvey --
Arbitrary Policy of Charles II. -- Settlement of New England --
Arrival of the Mayflower -- Settlement of New Hampshire --
Constitution of the Colony -- Doctrines of the Puritans -- Pequod War
-- Union of the New England Colonies -- William Penn -- Settlement of
New York -- Conquest of New Netherlands -- Discovery of the St.
Lawrence -- Jesuit Missionaries -- Prosperity of the English Colonies
-- French Encroachments -- European Settlements in the East -- French
Settlements in India -- La Bourdonnais and Dupleix -- Clive's
Victories -- Conquest of India.


  (pp. 342-359.)

The Pelhams -- The Pretender Charles Edward Stuart -- Surrender of
Edinburgh -- Success of the Pretender -- The Retreat of the Pretender
-- Battle of Culloden -- Latter Days of the Pretender -- Maria Theresa
-- Capture of Louisburg -- Great Colonial Contest -- Character of the
Duke of Newcastle -- Unpopularity of the Pelhams -- Rise of William
Pitt -- Brilliant Military Successes -- Military Successes in America
-- Victories of Clive in India -- Resignation of Pitt -- Peace of


  (pp. 360-379.)

Regency of the Duke of Orleans -- John Law -- Mississippi Company --
Popular Delusion -- Fatal Effects of the Delusion -- Administration of
Cardinal Fleury -- Cornelius Jansen -- St. Cyran -- Arnauld -- Le
Maitre -- The Labors of the Port Royalists -- Principles of Jansenism
-- Functions of the Parliament -- The Bull Unigenitus -- Madame de
Pompadour -- The Jesuits -- Exposure of the Jesuits -- Their Expulsion
from France -- Suppression in Spain -- Pope Clement XIV. -- Death of
Ganganelli -- Death of Louis XV.


  (pp. 380-390.)

Frederic William -- Accession of Frederic the Great -- The Seven
Years' War -- Battle of Rossbach -- Battle of Leuthen -- Fall of
Dresden -- Reverses of Frederic -- Continued Disasters -- Exhaustion
of Prussia by the War -- Death of Frederic -- Character of Frederic.


  (pp. 391-401.)

The Germanic Constitution -- The Hungarian War -- The Emperor Joseph
-- Accession of Maria Theresa -- She institutes Reforms -- Successors
of Peter the Great -- Murder of Peter III. -- Assassination, of Ivan
-- Death of Catharine -- Her Character.


  (pp. 402-408.)

The Crown of Poland made elective -- Election of Henry, Duke of Anjou
-- Sobieski assists the Emperor Leopold -- The Liberum Veto -- The
Fall of Poland.


  (pp. 409-415.)

Saracenic Empire -- Rise of the Turks -- Turkish Conquerors --
Progress of the Turks -- Decline of Turkish Power -- Turkish
Institutions -- Turkish Character.


  (pp. 416-431.)

Military Successes in America -- Prosecution of Wilkes -- Churchill --
Grafton's Administration -- Popularity of Wilkes -- Taxation of the
Colonies -- Indignation of the Colonies -- Functions of the Parliament
-- The Stamp Act -- Lord Chatham -- Administration of Lord North --
Irish Discontents -- Protestant Association -- Lord George Gordon's
Riots -- Parliamentary Reforms.


  (pp. 432-449.)

Causes of the Revolution -- Riots and Disturbances -- Duty on Tea --
Port of Boston closed -- Meeting of Congress -- Speech of Burke --
Battle of Bunker Hill -- Death of Montgomery -- Declaration of
American Independence -- Commissioners sent to France -- Capture of
Burgoyne -- Moral Effects of Burgoyne's Capture -- Arrival of La
Fayette -- Evacuation of Philadelphia -- The Treason of Arnold --
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis -- Resignation of Lord North.


  (pp. 450-470.)

William Pitt -- Early Life of Pitt -- Policy of Pitt -- Difficulties
with Ireland -- The United Irishmen -- Union of England and Ireland --
Condition of Ireland -- Parliamentary Reform -- Warren Hastings -- War
with Hyder Ali -- Robbery of the Princesses of Oude -- Prosecution of
Hastings -- Edmund Burke -- Charles James Fox -- Richard Brinsley
Sheridan -- Bill for the Regulation of India -- War with Tippoo Saib
-- Conquest of India -- Consequences of the Conquest -- War with
France -- Policy of Pitt.


  (pp. 471-495.)

Causes of the French Revolution -- Helvetius -- Voltaire -- Rousseau
-- Diderot -- General Influence of the Philosophers -- Sufferings of
the People -- Degradation of the People -- Derangement of Finances --
Maurepas -- Turgot -- Malesherbes -- Necker -- Calonne -- States
General -- The Tiers État -- Commotions -- Rule of the People --
National Federation -- Flight of the King -- The Girondists and the
Jacobins -- The National Convention -- Marat -- Danton -- Robespierre
-- General War -- Reign of Terror -- Death of Robespierre -- New
Constitution -- The Directory.


  (pp. 496-526.)

Character of Bonaparte -- Early Days of Bonaparte -- Early Services to
the Republic -- The Italian Campaign -- Battle of Cape St. Vincent --
Conquest of Venice by Bonaparte -- Invasion of Egypt -- Siege of
Acre -- Reverses of the French -- Bonaparte First Consul -- Immense
Military Preparations -- The Reforms of Bonaparte -- The Code Napoléon
-- Bonaparte becomes Emperor of the French -- Meditated Invasion of
England -- Battle of Austerlitz -- Battle of Jena -- Bonaparte
aggrandizes France -- Aggrandizement of Bonaparte's Family -- The
Peninsular War -- Invasion of Russia -- Battle of Smolensko -- Retreat
of the French -- Battles of Lutzen and Bautzen -- Battle of Leipsic --
The Allied Powers invade France -- Peace of Paris -- Bonaparte escapes
from Elba -- Battle of Waterloo -- Reflections on Napoleon's Fall.


  (pp. 527-532.)

Remarkable Men of Genius -- Condition of Germany -- Condition of other
Powers -- The United States of America.


      Chronological Table, from the Fall of Napoleon,              533
      Prime Ministers of England, from the Accession of
        Henry VIII.,                                               538
      Table of the Monarchy of Europe, during the Sixteenth,
        Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries,                     541
      Genealogical Table of the Royal Family of England,           543
      Genealogical Table of the Bourbons,                          544




The period at which this History commences,--the beginning of the
sixteenth century,--when compared with the ages which had preceded it,
since the fall of the Roman empire, was one of unprecedented
brilliancy and activity. It was a period very fruitful in great men
and great events, and, though stormy and turbulent, was favorable to
experiments and reforms. The nations of Europe seem to have been
suddenly aroused from a state of torpor and rest, and to have put
forth new energies in every department of life. The material and the
political, the moral and the social condition of society was subject
to powerful agitations, and passed through important changes.

Great _discoveries and inventions_ had been made. The use of movable
types, first ascribed to a German, of Mentz, by the name of Gutenberg,
in 1441, and to Peter Schoeffer, in 1444, changed the whole system of
book-making, and vastly increased the circulation of the Scriptures,
the Greek and Latin classics, and all other valuable works, which, by
the industry of the monkish copyist, had been preserved from the
ravages of time and barbarism. Gunpowder, whose explosive power had
been perceived by Roger Bacon as early as 1280, though it was not used
on the field of battle until 1346, had completely changed the art of
war and had greatly contributed to undermine the feudal system. The
polarity of the magnet, also discovered in the middle ages, and not
practically applied to the mariner's compass until 1403, had led to
the greatest event of the fifteenth century--the discovery of America
by Christopher Columbus, in 1492. The impulse given to commerce by
this and other discoveries of unknown continents and oceans, by the
Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Dutch, the English, and the French,
cannot be here enlarged on. America revealed to the astonished
European her riches in gold and silver; and Indian spices, and silks,
and drugs, were imported, through new channels, into all the countries
inhabited by the Teutonic races. Mercantile wealth, with all its
refinements, acquired new importance in the eyes of the nations. The
world opened towards the east and the west. The horizon of knowledge
extended. Popular delusions were dispelled. Liberality of mind was
acquired. The material prosperity of the western nations was
increased. Tastes became more refined, and social intercourse more

[Sidenote: Revival of the Arts.]

Art, in all its departments, was every where revived at this epoch.
Houses became more comfortable, and churches more splendid. The
utensils of husbandry and of cookery were improved. Linen and woollen
manufactures supplanted the coarser fabrics of the dark ages. Music
became more elaborate, and the present system of notation was adopted.
The genius of the sculptor again gave life and beauty to a marble
block, and painting was carried to greater perfection than by the
ancient Greeks and Romans. Florence, Venice, Milan, and Rome became
seats of various schools of this beautiful art, of which Michael
Angelo, Correggio, the Carracci, and Raphael were the most celebrated
masters, all of whom were distinguished for peculiar excellences,
never since surpassed, or even equalled. The Flemish artists were
scarcely behind the Italian; and Rubens, of Antwerp, may well rank
with Correggio and Titian. To Raphael, however, the world has, as yet,
furnished no parallel.

[Sidenote: Influence of Feudalism.]

_The political and social structure_ of society changed. The crusades,
long before, had given a shock to the political importance of the
feudal aristocracy, and reviving commerce and art had shaken the
system to its foundations. The Flemish weavers had arisen, and a
mercantile class had clamored for new privileges. In the struggle of
classes, and in the misfortunes of nobles, monarchs had perceived the
advantages they might gain, and fortunate circumstances enabled them
to raise absolute thrones, and restore a central power, always so
necessary to the cause of civilization. Feudalism had answered many
useful ends in the dark ages. It had secured a reciprocity of duties
between a lord and his vassal; it had restored loyalty, truth, and
fidelity among semi-barbarians; it had favored the cultivation of the
soil; it had raised up a hardy rural population; it had promoted
chivalry, and had introduced into Europe the modern gentleman; it had
ennobled friendship, and spread the graces of urbanity and gentleness
among rough and turbulent warriors. But it had, also, like all human
institutions, become corrupt, and failed to answer the ends for which
it was instituted. It had become an oppressive social despotism; it
had widened the distinction between the noble and ignoble classes; it
had produced selfishness and arrogance among the nobles, and a mean
and cringing sycophancy among the people; it had perpetuated
privileges, among the aristocracy, exceedingly unjust, and ruinous to
the general welfare of society. It therefore fell before the advancing
spirit of the age, and monarchies and republics were erected on its
ruins. The people, as well as monarchs, had learned the secret of
their power. They learned that, by combining their power, they could
successfully resist their enemies. The principle of association was
learned. Combinations of masses took place. Free cities were
multiplied. A population of artificers, and small merchants, and free
farmers arose. They discussed their privileges, and asserted their
independence. Political liberty was born, and its invaluable blessings
were conceived, if they were not realized.

[Sidenote: Effects of Scholasticism.]

_And the intellectual state_ of Europe received an impulse as marked
and beneficent as the physical and social. The scholastic philosophy,
with its dry and technical logic, its abstruse formulas, and its
subtle refinements, ceased to satisfy the wants of the human mind, now
craving light and absolute knowledge in all departments of science and
philosophy. Like feudalism, it had once been useful; but like that
institution, it had also become corrupted, and an object of sarcasm
and mockery. It had trained the European mind for the discoveries of
the sixteenth century; it had raised up an inquisitive spirit, and had
led to profound reflections on the existence of God, on his attributes
and will, on the nature of the soul, on the faculties of the mind and
on the practical duties of life. But this philosophy became pedantic
and cold; covered, as with a funereal shade, the higher pursuits of
life; and diverted attention from what was practical and useful. That
earnest spirit, which raised up Luther and Bacon, demanded, of the
great masters of thought, something which the people could understand,
and something which would do them good.

In poetry, the insipid and immoral songs of the Provençal bards gave
place to the immortal productions of the great creators of the
European languages. Dante led the way in Italy, and gave to the world
the "Divine Comedy"--a masterpiece of human genius, which raised him
to the rank of Homer and Virgil. Petrarch followed in his steps, and,
if not as profound or original as Dante, yet is unequalled as an
"enthusiastic songster of ideal love." He also gave a great impulse to
civilization by his labors in collecting and collating manuscripts.
Boccaccio also lent his aid in the revival of literature, and wrote a
series of witty, though objectionable stories, from which the English
Chaucer borrowed the notion of his "Canterbury Tales." Chaucer is the
father of English poetry, and kindled a love of literature among his
isolated countrymen; and was one of the few men who, in the evening of
his days, looked upon the world without austerity, and expressed
himself with all the vivacity of youthful feeling.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical Corruptions.]

Such were some of the leading events and circumstances which gave a
new life to European society, and created a desire for better days.
All of these causes of improvement acted and reacted on each other in
various ways, and prepared the way to new and great developments of
action and passion. These new energies were, however, unfortunately
checked by a combination of evils which had arisen in the dark ages,
and which required to be subverted before any great progress could be
reasonably expected. These evils were most remarkable in the church
itself and almost extinguished the light which Christ and his apostles
had kindled. The church looked with an evil eye on many of the
greatest improvements and agitations of the age, and attempted to
suppress the spirit of insurrection which had arisen against the
abuses and follies of past ages. Great ideas were ridiculed, and
daring spirits were crushed. There were many good men in the church
who saw and who lamented prevailing corruptions, but their voice was
overwhelmed by the clamors of interested partisans, or silenced by the
authority of the popes. The character of the popes themselves was not
what was expected of the heads of the visible church, or what was
frequently exhibited in those ignorant and superstitious times, when
the papacy fulfilled, in the opinion of many enlightened Protestants,
a benevolent mission. None had the disinterestedness of Gregory I., or
the talents of Gregory VII. There had been a time when the great
central spiritual monarchy of Rome had been exercised for the peace
and tranquillity of Europe, when it was uniformly opposed to slavery
and war, and when it was a mild and paternal government, which
protected innocence and weakness, while it punished injustice and
crime. The time was, when popes had been elevated for their piety and
learning, and when they lived as saints and died as martyrs. But that
time had passed. The Roman church did not keep up with the spirit or
the wants of the age, and moreover did not reform itself from vices
which had been overlooked in ages of ignorance and superstition. In
the fifteenth century, many great abuses scandalized a body of men who
should have been the lights of the world; and the sacred pontiffs
themselves set examples of unusual depravity. Julius II. marched at
the head of armies. Alexander VI. secured his election by bribery, and
reigned by extortion. He poisoned his own cardinals, and bestowed on
his son Cæsar Borgia--an incarnated demon--the highest dignities and
rewards. It was common for the popes to sell the highest offices in
the church for money, to place boys on episcopal thrones, to absolve
the most heinous and scandalous crimes for gold, to encourage the
massacre of heretics, and to disgrace themselves by infamous vices.
And a general laxity of morals existed among all orders of the clergy.
They were ignorant, debauched, and ambitious. The monks were
exceedingly numerous; had ceased to be men of prayer and
contemplation, as in the days of Benedict and Bernard; and might be
seen frequenting places of demoralizing excitement, devoted to
pleasure, and enriched by inglorious gains.

But the evils which the church encouraged were more dangerous than the
vices of its members. These evils were inherent in the papal system,
and were hard to be subverted. There were corruptions of doctrine, and
corruptions in the government and customs of the church.

[Sidenote: Papal Infallibility.]

There generally prevailed, throughout Christendom, the belief in papal
infallibility, which notion subverted the doctrines of the Bible, and
placed its truths, at least, on a level with the authority of the
schoolmen. It favored the various usurpations of the popes, and
strengthened the bonds of spiritual despotism.

The popes also claimed a control over secular princes, as well as the
supremacy of the church. Hildebrand was content with riveting the
chains of universal spiritual authority, the evil and absurdity of
which cannot well be exaggerated; but his more ambitious successors
sought to reduce the kings of the earth to perfect vassalage, and,
when in danger of having their monstrous usurpations torn from them,
were ready to fill the world with discord and war.

But the worldly popes of the fifteenth century also aspired to be
temporal princes. They established the most elegant court in Europe;
they supported large armies; they sought to restore the splendor of
imperial Rome; they became ambitious of founding great families; they
enriched their nephews and relations at the sacrifice of the best
interests of their church; they affected great state and dignity; they
built gorgeous palaces; they ornamented their capital with pictures
and statues.

The territories of Rome were, however, small. The lawful revenues of
the popes were insufficient to gratify their extravagance and pomp.
But money, nevertheless, they must have. In order to raise it, they
resorted to extortion and corruption. They imposed taxes on
Christendom, direct and indirect. These were felt as an intolerable
burden; but such was the superstition of the times, that they were
successfully raised. But even these were insufficient to gratify papal
avarice and rapacity. They then resorted, in their necessities, to the
meanest acts, imposed on the simplicity of their subjects, and finally
adopted the most infamous custom which ever disgraced the world.

[Sidenote: The Sale of Indulgences.]

They pardoned sins for money--granted sales of indulgences for crime.
A regular scale for absolution was graded. A proclamation was made
every fifty, and finally every twenty-five years, of a year of
jubilee, when plenary remission of all sin was promised to those who
should make a pilgrimage to Rome. And so great was the influx of
strangers, and consequently of wealth, to Rome, that, on one occasion,
it was collected into piles by rakes. It is computed that two hundred
thousand deluded persons visited the city in a single month. But the
vast sums they brought to Rome, and the still greater sums which were
obtained by the sale of indulgences, and by various taxations, were
all squandered in ornamenting the city, and in supporting a luxurious
court, profligate cardinals, and superfluous ministers of a corrupted
religion. Then was erected the splendid church of St. Peter, more
after the style of Grecian temples, than after the model of the Gothic
cathedrals of York and Cologne. Glorious was that monument of reviving
art; wonderful was its lofty dome; but the vast sums required to build
it opened the eyes of Christendom to the extravagance and presumption
of the popes; and this splendid trophy of their glory also became the
emblem of their broken power. Their palaces and temples made an
imposing show, but detracted from their real strength, which consisted
in the affections of their spiritual subjects. Their outward grandeur,
like the mechanical agencies which kings employ, was but a poor
substitute for the invisible power of love,--in all ages, and among
all people, "that cheap defence" which supports thrones and kingdoms.

[Sidenote: The Corruptions of the Church.]

Another great evil was, the prevalence of an idolatrous spirit. In the
churches and chapels, and even in private families, were innumerable
images of saints, pictures of the Virgin, relics, crucifixes, &c.,
designed at first to kindle a spirit of devotion among the rude and
uneducated, but gradually becoming objects of real adoration.
Intercessions were supposed to be made by the Virgin Mary, and by
favorite saints, more efficacious with Deity than the penitence and
prayers of the erring and sinful themselves. The influence of this
veneration for martyrs and saints was degrading to the mind, and
became a very lucrative source of profit to the priests, who peddled
the bones and relics of saints as they did indulgences, and who
invented innumerable lies to attest the genuineness and antiquity of
the objects they sold, all of which were parts of the great system of
fraud and avarice which the church permitted.

Again; the public worship of God was in a language the people could
not understand, but rendered impressive by the gorgeous dresses of the
priests, and the magnificence of the altar, and the images and vessels
of silver and gold, reflecting their splendor, by the light of wax
candles, on the sombre pillars, roofs, and windows of the Gothic
church, and the effect heightened by exciting music, and other appeals
to the taste or imagination, rather than to the reason and the heart.
The sermons of the clergy were frivolous, and ill adapted to the
spiritual wants of the people. "Men went to the Vatican," says the
learned and philosophical Ranke, "not to pray, but to contemplate the
Belvidere Apollo. They disgraced the most solemn festivals by open
profanations. The clergy, in their services, sought the means of
exciting laughter. One would mock the cuckoo, and another recite
indecent stories about St. Peter." Luther, when he visited Italy, was
extremely shocked at the infidel spirit which prevailed among the
clergy, who were hostile to the circulation of the Scriptures, and who
encouraged persecutions and inquisitions. This was the age when the
dreadful tribunal of the Inquisition flourished, although its chief
enormities were perpetrated in Spain and Portugal. It never had an
existence in England, and but little influence in France and Germany.
But if the Church did not resort, in all countries, to that dread
tribunal which subjected youth, beauty, and innocence to the
inquisitorial vengeance of narrow-minded Dominican monks, still she
was hostile to free inquiry, and to all efforts made to emancipate the
reason of men.

The spirit of religious persecution, which inflamed the Roman Church
to punish all dissenters from the doctrine and abuses she promulgated,
can never be questioned. The Waldenses and Albigenses had suffered, in
darker times, almost incredible hardships and miseries--had been
almost annihilated by the dreadful crusade which was carried on
against them, so that two hundred thousand had perished for supposed
heresy. But reference is not now made to this wholesale massacre, but
to those instances of individual persecution which showed the extreme
jealousy and hatred of Rome of all new opinions. John Huss and Jerome
of Prague were publicly burned for attempting to reform the church,
and even Savonarola, who did not deny the authority of the popes, was
condemned to the flames for denouncing the vices of his age, rather
than the evils of the church.

[Sidenote: Necessity for Reform.]

These multiplied evils, which checked the spirit of improvement,
called loudly for reform. Councils were assembled for the purpose; but
councils supported, rather than diminished, the evils of which even
princes complained. The reform was not destined to come from
dignitaries in the church or state; not from bishops, nor
philosophers, nor kings, but from an obscure teacher of divinity in a
German university, whom the genius of a reviving and awakened age had
summoned into the field of revolutionary warfare. It was reserved for
Martin Luther to commence the first successful rebellion against the
despotism of Rome, and to give the greatest impulse to freedom of
thought, and a general spirit of reform, which ten centuries had seen.

The most prominent event in modern times is unquestionably the
Protestant Reformation, and it was by far the most momentous in its
results. It gave rise, directly or indirectly, to the great wars of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as to those rival
sects which agitated the theological world. It is connected with the
enterprises of great monarchs, with the struggle of the Huguenots and
Puritans, with the diffusion of knowledge, and with the progress of
civil and religious liberty in Europe. An event, therefore, of such
interest and magnitude, may well be adopted as a starting point in
modern history, and will, accordingly, be the first subject of
especial notice. History is ever most impressive and philosophical
when great changes and revolutions are traced to the agency of great
spiritual ideas. Moreover, modern history is so complicated, that it
is difficult to unravel it except by tracing the agency of great
causes, rather than by detailing the fortunes of kings and nobles.



[Sidenote: The Early Life of Luther.]

Martin Luther was born the 10th of November, 1483, at Eisleben, in
Saxony. His father was a miner, of Mansfield, and his ancestors were
peasants, who lived near the summit of the Thuringian Forest. His
early years were spent at Mansfield, in extreme poverty, and he earned
his bread by singing hymns before the houses of the village. At the
age of fifteen, he went to Eisenach, to a high school, and at eighteen
entered the university of Erfurt, where he made considerable progress
in the sciences then usually taught, which, however, were confined
chiefly to the scholastic philosophy. He did not know either Greek or
Hebrew, but read the Bible in Latin. In 1505, he took his degree of
bachelor of arts, and, shortly after, his religious struggles
commenced. He had witnessed a fearful tempest, which alarmed him,
while on a visit at his father's house, and he was also much depressed
by the death of an intimate friend. In that age, the serious and the
melancholy generally sought monastic retreats, and Luther, thirsty
after divine knowledge, and anxious to save his soul, resolved to
forsake the world, and become a monk. He entered an Augustinian
monastery at Erfurt, soon after obtaining his first degree. But the
duties and studies of monastic life did not give his troubled soul the
repose he sought. He submitted to all the irksome labors which the
monks imposed; he studied the fathers and the schoolmen; he practised
the most painful austerities, and fastings, and self-lacerations:
still he was troubled with religious fears. His brethren encouraged
his good works, but his perplexities and doubts remained. In this
state of mind, he was found by Staupitz, vicar-general of the order,
who was visiting Erfurt, in his tour of inspection, with a view to
correct the bad morals of the monasteries. He sympathized with Luther
in his religious feelings, treated him with great kindness, and
recommended the reading of the Scriptures, and also the works of St.
Augustine whose theological views he himself had embraced. Although
St. Augustine was a great oracle in the Roman church, still, his
doctrines pertaining to personal salvation differed in spirit from
those which were encouraged by the Roman Catholic divines generally,
who attached less importance to justification by faith than did the
venerated bishop of Hyppo. In that age of abuses, great importance was
attached, by the church, to austerities, penance, and absolutions for
money. But Luther, deeply imbued with the spirit of Augustine, at
length found light, and repose, and joy, in the doctrine of
justification by faith alone. This became more and more the idea of
his life, especially at this time. The firmness of his convictions on
this point became extraordinary, and his spiritual gladness now
equalled his former depression and anxiety. He was soon to find a
sphere for the development of his views.

Luther was consecrated as a priest in 1507, and in 1508 he was invited
by Frederic, Elector of Saxony, to become a professor in the new
university which he had established at Wittemberg. He was now
twenty-five years of age, and the fact, that he should have been
selected, at that early age, to teach dialectics, is a strong argument
in favor of his attainments and genius.

He now began to apply himself to the study of the Greek and Hebrew,
and delivered lectures on biblical theology; and his novel method, and
great enthusiasm, attracted a crowd of students. But his sermons were
more striking even than his lectures, and he was invited, by the
council of Wittemberg, to be the preacher for the city. His eloquence,
his learning, and his zeal, now attracted considerable attention, and
the elector himself visited Wittemberg to hear him preach.

In 1512, he was sent on an embassy to Rome, and, while in Italy,
obtained useful knowledge of the actual state of the hierarchy, and of
morals and religion. Julius II., a warlike pontiff, sat on the throne
of St. Peter; and the "Eternal City" was the scene of folly,
dissipation, and clerical extortion. Luther returned to Germany
completely disgusted with every thing he had seen--the levity and
frivolity of the clergy, and the ignorance and vices of the people. He
was too earnest in his religious views and feelings to take much
interest in the works of art, or the pleasures, which occupied the
attention of the Italians; and the impression of the general iniquity
and corruption of Rome never passed away, and probably gave a new
direction to his thoughts.

[Sidenote: Luther's Early Religious Struggles.]

On his return, in 1512, he was made doctor of divinity, then a great
distinction, and renewed his lectures in the university with great
ardor. He gave a new impulse to the studies, and a new form to the
opinions of both professors and students. Lupinus and Carlstadt, his
colleagues, were converts to his views. All within his sphere were
controlled by his commanding genius, and extraordinary force of
character. He commenced war upon the schoolmen, and was peculiarly
hostile to Thomas Aquinas, whom he accused of Pelagianism. He also
attacked Aristotle, the great idol of the schools, and overwhelmed
scholasticism with sarcasm and mockery.

Such was the state of things when the preachers of indulgences, whom
Leo X. had encouraged, in order to raise money for St. Peter's Church,
arrived in the country round the Elbe. They had already spread over
Germany, Switzerland, and France. Their luxury and extravagance were
only equalled by their presumption and insolence. All sorts of crime
were pardoned by these people for money. Among the most remarkable of
these religious swindlers and peddlers was Tetzel. He was a friar of
the Dominicans, apostolical commissioner, inquisitor, and bachelor of
theology. He united profligate morals with great pretensions to
sanctity; was somewhat eloquent, so far as a sonorous voice was
concerned, and was very bold and haughty, as vulgar men, raised to
eminence and power, are apt to be. But his peculiarity consisted in
the audacity of his pretensions, and his readiness in inventing
stories to please the people, ever captivated by rhetoric and
anecdote. "Indulgences," said he, "are the most precious and sublime
of God's gifts." "I would not exchange my privileges for those of St.
Peter in heaven; for I have saved more souls, with my indulgences,
than he, with his sermons." "There is no sin so great that the
indulgence cannot remit it: even repentance is not necessary:
indulgences save not the living alone,--they save the dead." "The very
moment that the money clinks against the bottom of this chest, the
soul escapes from purgatory, and flies to heaven." "And do you know
why our Lord distributes so rich a grace? The dilapidated Church of
St. Peter and St. Paul is to be restored, which contains the bodies of
those holy apostles, and which are now trodden, dishonored, and

[Sidenote: The Ninety-Five Propositions.]

Tetzel found but few sufficiently enlightened to resist him, and he
obtained great sums from the credulous people. This abomination
excited Luther's intensest detestation; and he accordingly wrote
ninety-five propositions, and nailed them, in 1517, to the gates of
the church, in which he denounced the traffic in indulgences, and
traced the doctrine of absolution to the usurped power of the pope. He
denied the value of his absolution, and maintained that the divine
favor would only be granted on the condition of repentance and faith.

In these celebrated propositions, he struck at the root of scholastic
absurdities, and also of papal pretensions. The spirit which they
breathed was bold, intrepid, and magnanimous. They electrified
Germany, and gave a shock to the whole papal edifice. They had both a
religious and a political bearing; religious, in reference to the
grounds of justification, and political, in opening men's eyes to the
unjust and ruinous extortions of Rome.

Among those who perceived with great clearness the political tendency
of these propositions, and rejoiced in it, was the elector of Saxony
himself, the most powerful prince of the empire, who had long been
vexed, in view of the vast sums which had been drained from his
subjects. He also lamented the corruptions of the church, and probably
sympathized with the theological opinions of Luther. He accordingly
protected the bold professor, although he did not openly encourage
him, or form an alliance with him. He let things take their course.
Well did Frederic deserve the epithet of _Wise_.

[Sidenote: Erasmus--Melancthon.]

There was another great man who rejoiced in the appearance of Luther's
theses; and this was Erasmus, the greatest scholar of his age, the
autocrat of letters, and, at that time, living in Basle. He was born
in Rotterdam, in 1467, of poor parents, but early attracted notice for
his attainments, and early emancipated himself from the trammels of
scholasticism, which he hated and despised as cordially as Luther
himself. He also attacked, with elegant sarcasm the absurdities of his
age, both in literature and morals. He denounced the sins and follies
of the monks, and spoke of the necessity of reform. But his
distinguishing excellence was his literary talent and taste. He was a
great Greek scholar, and published a critical edition of the
Testament, which he accompanied with a Latin translation. In this, he
rendered great service to the reformers, especially to Luther. His
fascinating style and extensive erudition gave him great literary
fame. But he was timid, conservative, and vain; and sought to be
popular, except among the monks, whom he uniformly ridiculed. One
doctor hated him so cordially, that he had his picture hung up in his
study, that he might spit in his face as often as he pleased. So far
as Luther opposed monkery and despotism, his sympathies were with him.
But he did not desire a radical reformation, as Luther did, and always
shunned danger and obloquy. He dreaded an insurrection among the
people, and any thing which looked either revolutionary or fanatical.
Luther, therefore, much as he was gratified by his favor at first,
soon learned to distrust him; and finally these two great men were
unfriendly to each other.

Melancthon was too prominent an actor in the great drama about to be
performed, to be omitted in this sketch of great men who were on the
side of reform. He was born in 1497, and was, therefore, fourteen
years younger than Luther. He was educated under the auspices of the
celebrated Greek scholar Reuchlin, who was also a relative. At twelve,
he was sent to the university of Heidelberg; at fourteen, was made
bachelor of arts; and at seventeen, doctor of philosophy. He began to
lecture publicly at the age of seventeen; and, for his extraordinary
attainments, was invited to Wittemberg, as professor of ancient
languages, at the age of twenty-one. He arrived there in 1518, and
immediately fell under the influence of Luther, who, however,
acknowledged his classical attainments. He was considered a prodigy;
was remarkably young looking, and so boyish, that the grave professors
conceived but little hope of him at first. But, when he delivered his
inaugural oration in Latin, all were astonished; and their prejudices
were removed. Luther himself was enthusiastic in his praises, and a
friendship commenced between them, which was never weakened by a
quarrel. The mildness and gentleness of Philip Melancthon strongly
contrasted with the boldness, energy, and tumultuous passions of
Luther. The former was the more learned and elegant; the latter was
the superior genius--a genius for commanding men, and guiding great

[Sidenote: Melancthon--Leo X.]

But there was another great personage, who now viewed the movement of
Luther with any thing but indifference; and this was Leo X., the
reigning pope when the theses were published. He belonged to the
illustrious family of the Medici, and was chosen cardinal at the age
of thirteen. He was the most elegant and accomplished of all the
popes, patronized art and literature, and ornamented his capital with
palaces, churches, and statues. But with his sympathy for intellectual
excellence, he was prodigal, luxurious, and worldly. Indeed, his
spirit was almost infidel. He was more ambitious for temporal than
spiritual power; and, when he commenced his reign, the papal
possessions were more extensive and flourishing, than at any previous
period. His leading error was, his recklessness in the imposition of
taxes, even on the clergy themselves, by which he lost their
confidence and regard. With a very fine mind, he was, nevertheless,
quite unfitted for his station and his times.

Thus far, he had allowed the outcry which Luther had raised against
indulgences to take its course, and even disregarded the theses, which
he supposed originated in a monkish squabble. But the Emperor
Maximilian was alarmed, and wrote to the pope an account of Luther's
differences with Tetzel. Frederic of Saxony had also written to his
holiness, to palliate the conduct of Luther.

When such powerful princes became interested, Leo was startled. He
summoned Luther to Rome, to be tried by Prierias. Luther, not daring
to refuse, and not willing to obey, wrote to his friend Spalatin to
use his influence with the elector to have his cause tried in Germany;
and the pope, willing to please Frederic, appointed De Vio, his
legate, to investigate the matter. Luther accordingly set out for
Augsburg, in obedience to the summons of De Vio, although dissuaded by
many of his friends. He had several interviews with the legate, by
whom he was treated with courtesy and urbanity, and by whom he was
dissuaded from his present courses. But all the persuasion and
argument of the cardinal legate were without effect on the mind of
Luther, whose convictions were not to be put aside by either kindness
or craft. De Vio had hoped that he could induce Luther to retract;
but, when he found him fixed in his resolutions, he changed his tone,
and resorted to threats. Luther then made up his mind to leave
Augsburg; and, appealing to the decision of the sovereign pontiff,
whose authority he had not yet openly defied, he fled from the city,
and returned to Wittemberg, being countenanced by the elector, to whom
he also addressed letters. His life was safe so long as Frederic
protected him.

[Sidenote: The Leipsic Disputation.]

The next event in the progress of Luther was the Leipsic disputation,
June, 1519. The pope seemed willing to make one more effort to
convince Luther, before he proceeded to more violent courses. There
was then at his court a noble Saxon, Charles Miltitz, whose talents
and insinuating address secured him the high office of chamberlain to
the pope. He accordingly was sent into his native country, with the
dignity of legate, to remove the difficulties which De Vio had
attempted. He tried persuasion and flattery, and treated the reformer
with great civility. But Luther still persisted in refusing to
retract, and the matter was referred to the elector archbishop of

While the controversy was pending, Dr. Eck, of the university of
Ingolstadt, a man of great scholastic ingenuity and attainment, and
proud of the prizes of eight universities, challenged the professors
of Wittemberg to a public controversy on Grace and Free Will. He
regarded a disputation with the eye of a practised fencer, and sought
the means of extending his fame over North Germany. Leipsic was the
appointed arena, and thither resorted the noble and the learned of
Saxony. Eck was among the first who arrived, and, soon after, came
Carlstadt, Luther, and Melancthon.

[Sidenote: Principles of the Leipsic Disputation.]

The place for the combat was a hall in the royal palace of Duke
George, cousin to the elector Frederic, which was arranged and
ornamented with great care, and which was honored by the presence of
the duke, and of the chief divines and nobles of Northern Germany.
Carlstadt opened the debate, which did not excite much interest until
Luther's turn came, the antagonist whom Eck was most desirous to meet,
and whose rising fame he hoped to crush by a brilliant victory. Ranke
thus describes Luther's person at this time. "He was of the middle
size, and so thin as to be mere skin and bone. He possessed neither
the thundering voice, nor the ready memory, nor the skill and
dexterity, of his distinguished antagonist. But he stood in the prime
of manhood and in the fulness of his strength. His voice was melodious
and clear; he was perfectly versed in the Bible, and its aptest
sentences presented themselves unbidden to his mind; above all, he
inspired an irresistible conviction that he sought the truth. He was
always cheerful at home, and a joyous, jocose companion at table; he
even, on this grave occasion, ascended the platform with a nosegay in
his hand; but, when there, he displayed the intrepid and
self-forgetting earnestness arising from the depth of a conviction,
until now, unfathomed, even by himself. He drew forth new thoughts,
and placed them in the fire of the battle, with a determination that
knew no fear and no personal regard. His features bore the traces of
the storms that had passed over his soul, and of the courage with
which he was prepared to encounter those which yet awaited him. His
whole aspect evinced profound thought, joyousness of temper, and
confidence in the future. The battle immediately commenced on the
question of the authority of the papacy, which, at once intelligible
and important, riveted universal attention." Eck, with great erudition
and masterly logic, supported the claim of the pope, from the decrees
of councils, the opinions of scholastics, and even from those
celebrated words of Christ to Peter--"Thou art Peter, and on this rock
will I build my church," &c. Luther took higher and bolder ground,
denied the infallibility of councils, and appealed to Scripture as the
ultimate authority. Eck had probably the advantage over his
antagonist, so far as dialectics were concerned, being a more able
disputant; but Luther set at defiance mere scholastic logic, and
appealed to an authority which dialectics could not reach. The victory
was claimed by both parties; but the result was, that Luther no longer
acknowledged the authority of the Roman church, and acknowledged none
but the Scriptures.

[Sidenote: The Rights of Private Judgment.]

The Leipsic disputation was the grand intellectual contest of the
Reformation, and developed its great idea--the only great principle,
around which all sects and parties among the Protestants rally. This
is the idea, that _the Scriptures are the only ultimate grounds of
authority in religion, and that, moreover, every man has a right to
interpret them for himself_. The rights of private judgment--that
religion is a matter between the individual soul and God, and that
every man is answerable to his own conscience alone how he interprets
Scripture--these constitute the great Protestant platform. Different
sects have different views respecting justification, but all profess
to trace them to the Scriptures. Luther's views were similar to those
of St. Augustine--that "man could be justified by faith alone," which
was _his_ great theological doctrine--a doctrine adopted by many who
never left the communion of the Church of Rome, before and since his
day, and a doctrine which characterized the early reformers, Zwingle,
Calvin, Knox, Cranmer, and the Puritans generally. It is as absurd to
say that Luther's animating principle in religion was not this
doctrine, as it is unphilosophical to make the reformation consist
merely in its recognition. After Luther's convictions were settled on
this point, and he had generally and openly declared them, the main
contest of his life was against the papacy, which he viewed as the
predicted Antichrist--the "scarlet mother of abominations." It is not
the object of the writer of this History to defend or oppose Luther's
views, or argue any cause whatever, but simply to place facts in their
true light, which is, to state them candidly.

Although the Leipsic controversy brought out the great principle of
the Reformation, Luther's views, both respecting the true doctrines
and polity of the church, were not, on all points, yet developed, and
were only gradually unfolded, as he gained knowledge and light. It was
no trifling matter, even to deny the supremacy of the Roman church in
matters of faith. He was thus placed in the position of Huss and
Jerome, and other reformers, who had been destroyed, with scarcely an
exception. He thus was brought in direct conflict with the pope, with
the great dignitaries of the church, with the universities, and with
the whole scholastic literature. He had to expect the violent
opposition and vengeance of the pope, of the monks, of the great
ecclesiastical dignitaries, of the most distinguished scholars, and of
those secular princes who were friendly to Rome. He had none to
protect him but a prince of the empire, powerful, indeed, and wise,
but old and wavering. There were but few to uphold and defend him--the
satirical Erasmus, who was called a second Lucian, the feeble
Staupitz, the fanatical Carlstadt, and the inexperienced Melancthon.
The worldly-minded, the learned, the powerful, and the conservative
classes were his natural enemies. But he had reason and Scripture on
his side, and he appealed to their great and final verdict. He had
singular faith in the power of truth, and the gracious protection of
God Almighty. Reposing on the greatness of his cause, and the
providence of the omnipotent Protector, he was ready to defy all the
arts, and theories, and malice of man. His weapon was truth. For truth
he fought, and for truth he was ready to die. The sophistries of the
schools he despised; they had distorted and mystified the truth. And
he knew them well, for he had been trained in the severest dialectics
of his time, and, though he despised them, he knew how to use them.
The simple word of God, directed to the reason and conscience of men,
seemed alone worthy of his regard.

[Sidenote: Luther's Elements of Greatness.]

But, beside Scripture and unperverted reason, he had another element
of power. He was master of the sympathies and passions of the people.
His father was a toiling miner. His grandfather was a peasant. He had
been trained to penury; he had associated with the poor; he was a man
of the people; he was their natural friend. He saw and lamented their
burdens, and rose up for their deliverance. And the people
distinguished their true friend, from their false friends. They saw
the sincerity, earnestness, and labors of the new apostle of liberty,
and believed in him, and made an idol of him. They would protect him,
and honor him, and obey him, and believe what he taught them, for he
was their friend, whom God had raised up to take off their burdens,
and point a way to heaven, without the intercession of priests, or
indulgences, or penance. Their friend was to expose the corruptions of
the clergy, and to give battle to the great arch enemy who built St.
Peter's Church from their hard-earned pittances. A spirit from heaven
enlightened those to whom Luther preached, and they rallied around his
standard, and swore never to separate, until the great enemies of the
poor and the oppressed were rendered powerless. And their sympathies
were needed, and best services, too; for the great man of the age--the
incarnated spirit of liberty--was in danger.

[Sidenote: Excommunication of Luther.]

The pope, hitherto mild, persuasive, and undecided, now arose in the
majesty of his mighty name, and, as the successor of St. Peter, hurled
those weapons which had been thunderbolts in the hands of the
Gregories and the Innocents. From his papal throne, and with all the
solemnity of God's appointed vicegerent, he denounced the daring monk
of Wittemberg, and sentenced him to the wrath of God, and to the
penalty of eternal fire. Luther was excommunicated by a papal bull,
and his writings were condemned as heretical and damnable.

This was a dreadful sentence. Few had ever resisted it successfully,
even monarchs themselves. Excommunication was still a fearful weapon,
and used only in desperate circumstances. It was used only as the last
resort; for frequency would destroy its power. In the middle ages,
this weapon was omnipotent; and the middle ages had but just passed
away. No one could stand before that awful anathema which consigned
him to the wrath of incensed and implacable Deity. Much as some
professed to despise the sentence, still, when inflicted, it could not
be borne, especially if accompanied with an interdict. Children were
left unburied. The churches were closed. The rites of religion were
suspended. A funereal shade was spread over society. The fears of hell
haunted every imagination. No reason was strong enough to resist the
sentence. No arm was sufficiently powerful to remove the curse. It
hung over a guilty land. It doomed the unhappy offender, who was
cursed, wherever he went, and in whatever work he was engaged.

But Luther was strong enough to resist it, and to despise it. He saw
it was an imposition, which only barbarous and ignorant ages had
permitted. Moreover, he perceived that there was now no alternative
but victory or death; that, in the great contest in which he was
engaged, retreat was infamy. Nor did he wish to retreat. He was
fighting for oppressed humanity, and death even, in such a cause, was
glory. He understood fully the nature and the consequence of the
struggle. He perceived the greatness of the odds against him, in a
worldly point of view. No man but a Luther would have been equal to
it; no man, before him, ever had successfully rebelled against the
pope. It is only in view of this circumstance, that his intrepidity
can be appreciated.

What did the Saxon monk do, when the papal bull was published? He
assembled the professors and students of the university, declared his
solemn protest against the pope as Antichrist, and marched in
procession to the gates of the Castle of Wittemberg, and there made a
bonfire, and cast into it the bull which condemned him, the canon law,
and some writings of the schoolmen, and then reëntered the city,
breathing defiance against the whole power of the pope, glowing in the
consciousness that the battle had commenced, to last as long as life,
and perfectly secure that the victory would finally be on the side of
truth. This was in 1520, on the 10th of December.

The attention of the whole nation was necessarily drawn to this open
resistance; and the sympathy of the free thinking, the earnest, and
the religious, was expressed for him. Never was popular interest more
absorbing, in respect to his opinions, his fortunes, and his fate. The
spirit of innovation became contagious, and pervaded the German mind.
It demanded the serious attention of the emperor himself.

[Sidenote: The Diet of Worms.]

A great Diet of the empire was convened at Worms, and thither Luther
was summoned by the temporal power. He had a safe-conduct, which even
so powerful a prince as Charles V. durst not violate. In April, 1521,
the reformer appeared before the collected dignitaries of the German
empire, both spiritual and temporal, and was called upon to recant his
opinions as heretical in the eyes of the church, and dangerous to the
peace of the empire. Before the most august assembly in the world,
without a trace of embarrassment, he made his defence, and refused to
recant. "Unless," said he, "my errors can be demonstrated by texts
from Scripture, I will not and cannot recant; for it is not safe for a
man to go against his conscience. Here I am. I can do no otherwise.
God help me! Amen."

This declaration satisfied his friends, though it did not satisfy the
members of the diet. Luther was permitted to retire. He had gained the
confidence of the nation. From that time, he was its idol, and the
acknowledged leader of the greatest insurrection of human intelligence
which modern times have seen. The great principles of the reformation
were declared. The great hero of the Reformation had planted his cause
upon a rock. And yet his labors had but just commenced. Henceforth,
his life was toil and vexation. New difficulties continually arose.
New questions had to be continually settled. Luther, by his letters,
was every where. He commenced the translation of the Scriptures; he
wrote endless controversial tracts; his correspondence was
unparalleled; his efforts as a preacher were prodigious. But he was
equal to it all; was wonderfully adapted to his age and circumstances.

[Sidenote: Imprisonment at Wartburg.]

About this time commenced his voluntary imprisonment at Wartburg,
among the Thuringian forests: he being probably conducted thither by
the orders of the elector of Saxony. Here he was out of sight, but not
out of mind; and his retirement, under the disguise of a knight, gave
him leisure for literary labor. In the old Castle of Wartburg, a great
part of the Scriptures was translated into that beautiful and simple
version, which is still the standard of the German language.

[Sidenote: Carlstadt.]

While Luther was translating the Scriptures, in his retreat,
Wittemberg was the scene of new commotions, pregnant with great
results. There were many of the more zealous converts to the reformed
doctrines, headed by Carlstadt, dean of the faculty of theology, who
were not content with the progress which had been made, and who
desired more sweeping and radical changes. Such a party ever exists in
all reforms; for there are some persons who are always inclined to
ultra and extravagant courses. Carlstadt was a type of such men. He
was learned, sincere, and amiable, but did not know where to stop; and
the experiment was now to be tried, whether it was possible to
introduce a necessary reform, without annihilating also all the
results of the labors of preceding generations. Carlstadt's mind was
not well balanced, and to him the reformation was only a half measure,
and a useless movement, unless all the external observances of
religion and the whole economy of the church were destroyed. He
abolished, or desired to abolish, all priestly garments, all fasts and
holydays, all pictures in the churches, and all emblematical
ceremonies of every kind. He insisted upon closing all places of
public amusement, the abolition of all religious communities, and the
division of their possessions among the poor. He maintained that there
was no need of learning, or of academic studies, and even went into
the houses of the peasantry to seek explanation of difficult passages
of Scripture. For such innovations, the age was certainly not
prepared, even had they been founded on reason; and the conservative
mind of Luther was shocked at extravagances which served to disgust
the whole Christian world, and jeopardize the cause in which he had
embarked. So, against the entreaties of the elector, and in spite of
the ban of the empire, he returned to Wittemberg, a small city, it was
true, but a place to which had congregated the flower of the German
youth. He resolved to oppose the movements of Carlstadt, even though
opposition should destroy his influence. Especially did he declare
against all violent measures to which the ultra reformers were
inclined, knowing full well, that, if his cause were sullied with
violence or fanaticism, all Christendom would unite to suppress it.
His sermons are, at this time, (1522,) pervaded with a profound and
conservative spirit, and also a spirit of conciliation and love,
calculated to calm passions, and carry conviction to excited minds.
His moderate counsels prevailed, the tumults were hushed, and order
was restored. Carlstadt was silenced for a time; but a mind like his
could not rest, especially on points where he had truth on his side.
One of these was, in reference to the presence of Christ's body in the
Eucharist, which Carlstadt totally denied. He taught "that the Lord's
supper was purely symbolic, and was simply a pledge to believers of
their redemption." But Luther saw, in every attempt to exhibit the
symbolical import of the supper, only the danger of weakening the
authority of Scripture, which was his stronghold, and became
exceedingly tenacious on that point; carried his views to the extreme
of literal interpretation, and never could emancipate himself from the
doctrines of Rome respecting the eucharist. Carlstadt, finding himself
persecuted at Wittemberg left the city, and, as soon as he was
released from the presence of Luther, began to revive his former zeal
against images also, and was the promoter of great disturbances. He at
last sought refuge in Strasburg, and sacrificed fame, and friends, and
bread to his honest convictions.

[Sidenote: Thomas Münzer.]

But, nevertheless, the views of Carlstadt found advocates, and his
extravagances were copied with still greater zeal. Many pretended to
special divine illumination--the great central principle of all
fanaticism. Among these was Thomas Münzer, of Zwickau, mystical,
ignorant, and conceited, but sincere and simple hearted. "Luther,"
said he, "has liberated men's consciences from the papal yoke, but has
not led them in spirit towards God." Considering himself as called
upon by a special revelation to bring men into greater spiritual
liberty, he went about inflaming the popular mind, and raising
discontents, and even inciting to a revolt. Religion now became
mingled with politics, and social and political evils were violently
resisted, under the garb of religion. An insurrection at last arose in
the districts of the Black Forest, (1524,) near the sources of the
Danube, and spread from Suabia to the Rhine provinces, until it became
exceedingly formidable. Then commenced what is called the "peasants'
war," which was only ended by the slaughter of fifty thousand people.
As the causes of this war, after all, were chiefly political, the
details belong to our chapter on political history. For this
insurrection of the peasantry, however, Luther expressed great
detestation; although he availed himself of it to lecture the princes
of Germany on their duties as civil rulers.

The peasant war was scarcely ended, when Luther married Catharine
Bora; and, as she was a nun, and he was a monk, the marriage gave
universal scandal. But this marriage, which proved happy, was the
signal of new reforms. Luther now emancipated himself from his
monastic fetters, and lifted up his voice against the whole monastic
system. Eight years had elapsed since he preached against indulgences.
During these eight years, reform had been gradual, and had now
advanced to the extreme limit it ever reached during the life of the

But, in another quarter, it sprang up with new force, and was carried
to an extent not favored in Germany. It was in Switzerland that the
greatest approximation was made to the forms, if not to the spirit, of
primitive Christianity.

[Sidenote: Ulric Zwingle.]

The great hero of this Swiss movement was Ulric Zwingle, the most
interesting of all the reformers. He was born in 1484, and educated
amid the mountains of his picturesque country, and, like Erasmus,
Reuchlin, Luther, and Melancthon, had no aristocratic claims, except
to the nobility of nature. But, though poor, he was well educated, and
was a master of the scholastic philosophy and of all the learning of
his age. Like Luther, he was passionately fond of music, and played
the lute, the harp, the violin, the flute and the dulcimer. There was
no more joyous spirit in all Switzerland than his. Every one loved his
society, and honored his attainments, and admired his genius. Like
Luther and Erasmus, he was disgusted with scholasticism, and regretted
the time he had devoted to its study. He was ordained in 1506, by the
bishop of Constance, and was settled in Zurich in 1518. At first, his
life did not differ from that which the clergy generally led, being
one of dissipation and pleasure. But he was studious, and became well
acquainted with the fathers, and with the original Greek. Only
gradually did light dawn upon him, and this in consequence of his
study of the Scriptures, not in consequence of Luther's preaching. He
had no tempests to withstand, such as shook the soul of the Saxon
monk. Nor had he ever devoted himself with the same ardor to the
established church. Nor was he so much interested on doctrinal points
of faith. But he saw with equal clearness the corruptions of the
church, and preached with equal zeal against indulgences and the
usurpations of the popes. The reformation of morals was the great aim
of his life. His preaching was practical and simple, and his doctrine
was, that "religion consisted in trust in God, loving God, and
innocence of life." Moreover, he took a deep interest in the political
relations of his country, and was an enthusiast in liberty as well as
in religion. To him the town of Zurich was indebted for its
emancipation from the episcopal government of Constance, and also for
a reformation in all the externals of the church. He inspired the
citizens with that positive spirit of Protestantism, which afterwards
characterized Calvin and the Puritans. He was too radical a reformer
to suit Luther, although he sympathized with most of his theological

[Sidenote: Controversy between Luther and Zwingle.]

On one point, however, they differed; and this difference led to an
acrimonious contest, quite disgraceful to Luther, and the greatest
blot on his character, inasmuch as it developed, to an extraordinary
degree, both obstinacy and dogmatism, and showed that he could not
bear contradiction or opposition. The quarrel arose from a difference
of views respecting the Lord's supper, Luther maintaining not exactly
the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but something
approximating to it--even the omnipresence of Christ's body in the
sacred elements. He relinquished the doctrine of the continually
repeated miracle, but substituted a universal miracle, wrought once
for all. In his tenacity to the opinions of the schoolmen on this
point, we see his conservative spirit; for he did not deny tradition,
unless it was expressly contradicted by Scripture. He would have
maintained the whole structure of the Latin church, had it not been
disfigured by modern additions, plainly at variance with the
Scriptures; and so profoundly was he attached to the traditions of the
church, and to the whole church establishment, that he only
emancipated himself by violent inward storms. But Zwingle had not this
lively conception of the universal church, and was more radical in his
sympathies. He took Carlstadt's view of the supper, that it was merely
symbolic. Still he shrunk from a rupture with Luther, which, however,
was unavoidable, considering Luther's views of the subject and his
cast of mind. Luther rejected all offers of conciliation, and, as he
considered it essential to salvation to believe in the real presence
of Christ in the sacrament, he refused to acknowledge Zwingle as a

Zwingle, nevertheless, continued his reforms, and sought to restore,
what he conceived to be, the earliest forms in which Christianity had
manifested itself. He designed to restore a worship purely spiritual.
He rejected all rites and ceremonies, not expressly enjoined in the
Bible. Luther insisted in retaining all that was not expressly
forbidden. And this was the main point of distinction between them and
their adherents.

But Zwingle contemplated political, as well as religious, changes,
and, as early as 1527, two years before his conference with Luther at
Marburg, had projected a league of all the reformers against the
political authorities which opposed their progress. He combated the
abuses of the state, as well as of the church. This opposition created
great enemies against him among the cantons, with their different
governments and alliances. He also secured enthusiastic friends, and,
in all the cantons, there was a strong democratic party opposed to the
existing oligarchies, which party, in Berne and Basle, St. Gall,
Zurich, Appenzell, Schaffhausen, and Glarus, obtained the ascendency.
This led to tumults and violence, and finally to civil war between the
different cantons, those which adhered to the old faith being assisted
by Austria. Lucerne, Uri Schwytz, Zug, Unterwalden took the lead
against the reformed cantons, the foremost of which was Zurich, where
Zwingle lived. Zurich was attacked. Zwingle, from impulses of
patriotism and courage, issued forth from his house, and joined the
standard of his countrymen, not as a chaplain, but as an armed
warrior. This was his mistake. "They who take the sword shall perish
with the sword." The intrepid and enlightened reformer was slain in
1531, and, with his death, expired the hopes of his party. The
restoration of the Roman Catholic religion immediately commenced in

Luther, more wise than Zwingle, inasmuch as he abstained from
politics, continued his labors in Germany. And they were immense. The
burdens of his country rested on his shoulders. He was the dictator of
the reformed party, and his word was received as law. Moreover, the
party continually increased, and, from the support it received from
some of the most powerful of the German princes, it became formidable,
even in a political point of view. Nearly one half of Germany embraced
the reformed faith.

[Sidenote: Diet of Augsburg.]

The illustrious Charles V. had now, for some time, been emperor, and,
in the prosecution of his conquests, found it necessary to secure the
support of united Germany, especially since Germany was now invaded by
the Turks. In order to secure this support, he found it necessary to
make concessions in religion to his Protestant subjects. At the diet
of Augsburg, (1530,) where there was the most brilliant assemblage of
princes which had been for a long time seen in Germany, the celebrated
confession of the faith of the Protestants was read. It was written by
Melancthon, in both Latin and German, on the basis of the articles of
Torgau, which Luther had prepared. The style was Melancthon's; the
matter was Luther's. It was comprised in twenty-eight articles, of
which twenty-one pertained to the faith of the Protestants--the name
they assumed at the second diet of Spires, in 1529--and the remaining
seven recounted the errors and abuses of Rome. It was subscribed by
the Elector of Saxony, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the Duke of
Lunenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Prince of Anhalt, and the
deputies of the imperial cities Nuremberg and Reutlingen. But the
Catholics had the ascendency in the diet, and the "Confession of
Augsburg" was condemned. But the emperor did not venture on any
decisive measures for the extirpation of the "heresy." He threatened
and published edicts, but his menaces had but little force.
Nevertheless, the Protestant princes assembled, first at Smalcalde,
and afterwards at Frankfort, for an alliance of mutual defence,--the
first effective union of free princes and states against their
oppressors in modern Europe,--and laid the foundation of liberty of
conscience. Hostilities, however, did not commence, since the emperor
was desirous of uniting Germany against the Turks; and he therefore
recalled his edicts of Worms and Augsburg against the Protestants, and
made important concessions, and promised them undisturbed enjoyment of
their religion. This was a great triumph to the Protestants, and as
great a shock to the Papal power.

[Sidenote: League of Smalcalde.]

The Confession of Augsburg and the League of Smalcalde form an
important era of Protestantism, since, by these, the reformed faith
received its definite form, and was moreover guaranteed. The work for
which Luther had been raised up was now, in the main, accomplished.
His great message had been delivered and heard.

[Sidenote: Death and Character of Luther.]

After the confirmation of his cause, his life was perplexed and
anxious. He had not anticipated those civil commotions which he now
saw, sooner or later, were inevitable. With the increase of his party
was the decline of spirituality. Political considerations, also, with
many, were more prominent than moral. Religion and politics were
mingled together, not soon to be separated in the progress of reform.
Moreover, the reformers differed upon many points among themselves.
There was a lamentable want of harmony between the Germans and the
Swiss. Luther had quarrelled with nearly every prominent person with
whom he had been associated, except Melancthon, who yielded to him
implicit obedience. But, above all, the Anabaptist disorders, which he
detested, and which distracted the whole bishopric of Münster,
oppressed and mortified him. Worn out with cares, labors, and
vexations, which ever have disturbed the peace and alloyed the
happiness of great heroes, and from which no greatness is exempt, he
died at Eisleben, in 1545, while on a visit to his native place in
older to reconcile dissensions between the counts of Mansfeldt.

Luther's name is still reverenced in Germany, and, throughout all
Protestant countries, he is regarded as the greatest man connected
with the history of the church since the apostolic age. Others have
been greater geniuses, others more learned, others more devout, and
others more amiable and interesting; but none ever evinced greater
intrepidity, or combined greater qualities of mind and heart. He had
his faults: he was irritable, dogmatic, and abusive in his
controversial writings. He had no toleration for those who differed
from him--the fault of the age. But he was genial, joyous, friendly,
and disinterested. His labors were gigantic; his sincerity
unimpeached; his piety enlightened; his zeal unquenchable.
Circumstances and the new ideas of his age, favored him, but he made
himself master of those circumstances and ideas, and, what is more,
worked out ideas of his own, which were in harmony with Christianity.
The Reformation would have happened had there been no Luther, though
at a less favorable time; but, of all the men of his age that the
Reformation could least spare, Martin Luther stands preëminent. As the
greatest of reformers, his name will be ever honored.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--The attention of the student is directed only
     to the most prominent and valuable works which treat of
     Luther and the Protestant reformation. All the works are too
     numerous, even to be decimated. Allusion is made to those
     merely which are accessible and useful. Among them may be
     mentioned, as most important, Ranke's History of the
     Reformation; D'Aubigné's History of the Reformation;
     Michelet's Life of Luther; Audin's Life of Luther, a
     Catholic work, written with great spirit, but not much
     liberality; Stebbing's History of the Reformation; a Life of
     Luther, by Rev. Dr. Sears, a new work, written with great
     correctness and ability; Guizot's Lectures on Civilization;
     Plank's Essay on the Consequences of the Reformation.



[Sidenote: Charles V.]

When Luther appeared upon the stage, the great monarchies of Europe
had just arisen upon the ruins of those Feudal states which survived
the wreck of Charlemagne's empire.

The Emperor of Germany, of all the monarchs of Europe, had the
greatest claim to the antiquity and dignity of his throne. As
hereditary sovereign of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and the Tyrol, he
had absolute authority in his feudal provinces; while, as an elected
emperor, he had an indirect influence over Saxony, the Palatinate, the
three archbishoprics of Trèves, Mentz, and Cologne, and some
Burgundian territories.

[Sidenote: Spain and France in the Fifteenth Century.]

But the most powerful monarchy, at this time, was probably that of
France; and its capital was the finest city in Europe, and the resort
of the learned and elegant from all parts of Christendom. All
strangers extolled the splendor of the court, the wealth of the
nobles, and the fame of the university. The power of the monarch was
nearly absolute, and a considerable standing army, even then, was
ready to obey his commands.

Spain, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, was ruled by
Ferdinand and Isabella, who, by their marriage, had united the crowns
of Castile and Arragon. The conquest of Granada and the discovery of
America had added greatly to the political importance of Spain, and
laid the foundation of its future greatness under Philip II.

England, from its insular position, had not so much influence in
European politics as the other powers to which allusion has been made,
but it was, nevertheless, a flourishing and united kingdom.
Henry VII., the founder of the house of Tudor, sat on the throne, and
was successful in suppressing the power of the feudal nobility, and in
increasing the royal authority. Kings, in the fifteenth century, were
the best protectors of the people, and aided them in their struggles
against their feudal oppressors. England, however, had made but little
advance in commerce or manufactures, and the people were still rude
and ignorant. The clergy, as in other countries, were the most
intelligent and wealthy portion of the population, and, consequently,
the most influential, although disgraced by many vices.

Italy then, as now, was divided into many independent states, and
distracted by civil and religious dissensions. The duchy of Milan was
ruled by Ludovico Moro, son of the celebrated Francis Sforza. Naples,
called a kingdom, had just been conquered by the French. Florence was
under the sway of the Medici. Venice, whose commercial importance had
begun to decline, was controlled by an oligarchy of nobles. The chair
of St. Peter was filled by pope Alexander VI., a pontiff who has
obtained an infamous immortality by the vices of debauchery, cruelty,
and treachery. The papacy was probably in its most corrupt state, and
those who had the control of its immense patronage, disregarded the
loud call for reformation which was raised in every corner of
Christendom. The popes were intent upon securing temporal as well as
spiritual power, and levied oppressive taxes on both their spiritual
and temporal subjects.

The great northern kingdoms of Europe, which are now so
considerable,--Russia, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway,--did not, at the
beginning of the sixteenth century, attract much attention. They were
plunged in barbarism and despotism, and the light of science or
religion rarely penetrated into the interior. The monarchs were
sensual and cruel, the nobles profligate and rapacious, the clergy
ignorant and corrupt, and the people degraded, and yet insensible to
their degradation, with no aspirations for freedom and no appreciation
of the benefits of civilization. Such heroes as Peter and Gustavus
Adolphus had not yet appeared. Nor were these northern nations
destined to be immediately benefited by the impulse which the
reformation gave, with the exception of Sweden, then the most powerful
of these kingdoms.

The Greek empire became extinct when Constantinople was taken by the
Turks, in 1453. On its ruins, the Ottoman power was raised. At the
close of the fifteenth century, the Turkish arms were very powerful,
and Europe again trembled before the Moslems. Greece and the whole of
Western Asia were obedient to the sultan. But his power did not reach
its culminating point until a century afterwards.

Such were the various states of Europe when the Reformation broke out.
Maximilian was emperor of Germany, and Charles V. had just inherited,
from his father, Philip the Fair, who had married a daughter of
Ferdinand and Isabella, the kingdom of Spain, in addition to the
dominion of the Netherlands.

By the death of Maximilian, in 1519, the youthful sovereign of Spain
and the Netherlands came into possession of the Austrian dominions;
and the electors, shortly after, chose him emperor of Germany.

He was born at Ghent, A. D. 1500, and was educated with great care. He
early displayed his love of government, and, at fifteen, was present
at the deliberations of the cabinet. But he had no taste for learning,
and gave but few marks of that genius which he afterwards evinced. He
was much attached to his Flemish subjects, and, during the first year
of his reign, gave great offence to the grandees of Spain and the
nobles of Germany by his marked partiality for those men who had been
his early companions.

It is difficult to trace, in the career of Charles V., any powerful
motives of conduct, separate from the desire of aggrandizement. The
interests of the church, with which he was identified, and the true
welfare of his subjects, were, at different times, sacrificed to his
ambition. Had there been no powerful monarchs on the other thrones of
Europe, his dreams of power might possibly have been realized. But at
this period there happened to be a constellation of princes.

[Sidenote: Wars between Charles and Francis.]

The greatest of these, and the chief rival through life of Charles,
was Francis I. of France. He had even anticipated an election to the
imperial crown, which would have made him more powerful than even
Charles himself. The electors feared both, and chose Frederic of
Saxony; but he declined the dangerous post. Charles, as Archduke of
Austria, had such great and obvious claims, that they could not be
disregarded. He was therefore the fortunate candidate. But his
election was a great disappointment to Francis, and he could not
conceal his mortification. Peace could not long subsist between two
envious and ambitious princes. Francis was nearly of the same age as
Charles, had inherited nearly despotic power, was free from financial
embarrassments, and ruled over an united and loyal people. He was
therefore no contemptible match for Charles. In addition, he
strengthened himself by alliances with the Swiss and Venetians.
Charles sought the favor of the pope and Henry VIII. of England. The
real causes of war were mutual jealousies, and passion for military
glory. The assigned causes were, that Charles did not respect the
claims of Francis as king of Naples; and, on the other hand, that
Francis had seized the duchy of Milan, which was a fief of the empire,
and also retained the duchy of Burgundy, the patrimonial inheritance
of the emperor.

The political history of Europe, for nearly half a century, is a
record of the wars between these powerful princes, of their mutual
disasters, disappointments, and successes. Other contests were
involved in these, and there were also some which arose from causes
independent of mutual jealousy, such as the revolt of the Spanish
grandees, of the peasants in Germany, and of the invasion of the
empire by the Turks. During the reign of Charles, was also the
division of the princes of Germany, on grounds of religion--the
foundation of the contest which, after the death of Charles, convulsed
Germany for thirty years. But the Thirty Years' War was a religious
war--was one of the political consequences of the Reformation. The
wars between Charles and Francis were purely wars of military
ambition. Charles had greater territories and larger armies; but
Francis had more money, and more absolute control over his forces.
Charles's power was checked in Spain by the free spirit of the Cortes,
and in Germany by the independence of the princes, and by the
embarrassing questions which arose out of the Reformation.

It would be tedious to read the various wars between Charles and his
rival. Each of them gained, at different times, great successes, and
each experienced, in turn, the most humiliating reverses. Francis was
even taken prisoner at the battle of Pavia, in 1525, and confined in a
fortress at Madrid, until he promised to the victors the complete
dismemberment of France--an extorted promise he never meant to keep.
No sooner had he recovered his liberty, than he violated all his
oaths, and Europe was again the scene of fresh hostilities. The
passion of revenge was now added to that of ambition, and, as the pope
had favored the cause of Francis, the generals of Charles invaded
Italy. Rome was taken and sacked by the constable Bourbon, a French
noble whom Francis had slighted, and cruelties and outrages were
perpetrated by the imperial forces which never disgraced Alaric or

Charles affected to be filled with grief in view of the victories of
his generals, and pretended that they acted without his orders. He
employed every artifice to deceive indignant Christendom, and
appointed prayers and processions throughout Spain for the recovery of
the pope's liberty, which one stroke of his pen could have secured.
Thus it was, that the most Catholic and bigoted prince in Europe
seized the pope's person, and sacked his city, at the very time when
Luther was prosecuting his reform. And this fact shows how much more
powerfully the emperor was influenced by political, than by religious
considerations. It also shows the providence of God in permitting the
only men, who could have arrested the reformation, to spend their
strength in battling each other, rather than the heresy which they
deplored. Had Charles been less powerful and ambitious, he probably
would have contented himself in punishing heretics, and in uniting
with his natural ally, the pope, in suppressing every insurrection
which had for its object the rights of conscience and the enjoyment of
popular liberty.

The war was continued for two years longer between Francis and
Charles, with great acrimony, but with various success, both parties
being, at one time, strengthened by alliances, and then again weakened
by desertions. At last, both parties were exhausted, and were willing
to accede to terms which they had previously rejected with disdain.
Francis was the most weakened and disheartened, but Charles was the
most perplexed. The troubles growing out of the Reformation demanded
his attention, and the Turks, at this period a powerful nation, were
about invading Austria. The Spaniards murmured at the unusual length
of the war, and money was with difficulty obtained.

Hence the peace of Cambray, August 5, 1529; which was very
advantageous to Charles, in consequence of the impulsive character of
Francis, and his impatience to recover his children, whom he had
surrendered to Charles in order to recover his liberty. He agreed to
pay two millions of crowns for the ransom of his sons, and renounce
his pretensions in the Low Countries and Italy. He, moreover, lost
reputation, and the confidence of Europe, by the abandonment of his
allies. Charles remained the arbiter of Italy, and was attentive to
the interests of all who adhered to him. With less _chivalry_ than his
rival, he had infinitely more _honor_. Cold, sagacious, selfish, and
ambitious, he was, however, just, and kept his word. He combined
qualities we often see in selfish men--a sort of legal and technical
regard to the letter of the law, with the constant violation of its
spirit. A Shylock might not enter a false charge upon his books, while
he would adhere to a most extortionate bargain.

Charles, after the treaty of Cambray was signed, visited Italy with
all the pomp of a conqueror. At Genoa, he honored Doria with many
marks of distinction, and bestowed upon the republic new privileges.
He settled all his difficulties with Milan, Venice, and Florence, and
reëstablished the authority of the Medici. He was then crowned by the
pope, whom he had trampled on, as King of Lombardy and Emperor of the
Romans, and hastened into Germany, which imperatively required his
presence, both on account of dissensions among the princes, which the
reformation caused, and the invasion of Austria by three hundred
thousand Turks. He resolved to recover the old prerogatives of the
emperor of Germany, and crush those opinions which were undermining
his authority, as well as the power of Rome, with which his own was

[Sidenote: Diet of Spires.]

A Diet of the empire was accordingly summoned at Spires, in order to
take into consideration the state of religion, the main cause of all
the disturbances in Germany. It met on the 15th of March, 1529, and
the greatest address was required to prevent a civil war. All that
Charles could obtain from the assembled princes was, the promise to
prevent any further innovations. A decree to that effect was passed,
against which, however, the followers of Luther protested, the most
powerful of whom were the Elector of Saxony, the Marquis of
Brandenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Duke of Lunenburg, the Prince
of Anhalt, and the deputies of fourteen imperial cities. This protest
gave to them the name of _Protestants_--a name ever since retained.
Soon after, the diet assembled at Augsburg, when the articles of faith
among the Protestants were read,--known as the Confession of
Augsburg,--which, however, the emperor opposed. In consequence of his
decree, the Protestant princes entered into a league at Smalcalde,
(December 22, 1530,) to support one another, and defend their
religion. Circumstances continually occurred to convince Charles, that
the extirpation of heresy by the sword was impossible in Germany, and
moreover, he saw it was for his interest--to which his eye was
peculiarly open--to unite all the German provinces in a vigorous
confederation. Accordingly after many difficulties, and with great
reluctance, terms of pacification were agreed upon at Nuremburg,
(1531,) and ratified in the diet at Ratisbon, shortly after, by which
it was agreed that no person should be molested in his religion, and
that the Protestants, on their part, should assist the emperor in
resisting the invasion of the Turks. The Germans, with their customary
good faith, furnished all the assistance they promised, and one of the
best armies ever raised in Germany, amounting to ninety thousand foot,
and thirty thousand horse, took the field, commanded by the emperor in
person. But the campaign ended without any memorable event, both
parties having erred from excessive caution.

[Sidenote: Hostilities between Charles and Francis.]

Francis soon availed himself of the difficulties and dangers of his
rival, formed an alliance with the Turks, put forth his old claims,
courted the favor of the German Protestants, and renewed hostilities.
He marched towards Italy, and took possession of the dominions of the
duke of Savoy, whom the emperor, at this juncture, was unable to
assist, on account of his African expedition against the pirate
Barbarossa. This noted corsair had built up a great power in Tunis and
Algiers, and committed shameful ravages on all Christian nations.
Charles landed in Africa with thirty thousand men, took the fortress
of Goletta, defeated the pirate's army, captured his capital, and
restored the exiled Moorish king to his throne. In the midst of these
victories Francis invaded Savoy. Charles was terribly indignant, and
loaded his rival with such violent invectives that Francis challenged
him to single combat. The challenge was accepted, but the duel was
never fought. Charles, in his turn, invaded France, with a large army,
for that age--forty thousand foot and ten thousand horse; but the
expedition was unfortunate. Francis acted on the defensive with
admirable skill, and was fortunate in his general Montmorency, who
seemed possessed with the spirit of a Fabius. The emperor, at last,
was compelled to return ingloriously, having lost half of his army
without having gained a single important advantage. The joy of
Francis, however, was embittered by the death of the dauphin,
attributed by some to the infamous Catharine de Medicis, wife of the
Duke of Orleans, in order to secure the crown to her husband. War did
not end with the retreat of Charles, but was continued, with great
personal animosity, until mutual exhaustion led to a truce for ten
years, concluded at Nice, in 1538. Both parties had exerted their
utmost strength, and neither had obtained any signal advantage.
Notwithstanding their open and secret enmity, they had an interview
shortly after the truce, in which both vied with each other in
expressions of esteem and friendship, and in the exhibition of
chivalrous courtesies--a miserable mockery, as shown by the violation
of the terms of the truce, and the renewal of hostilities in 1541.

[Sidenote: African Wars.]

These were, doubtless, facilitated by Charles's unfortunate expedition
against Algiers in 1541, by which he gained nothing but disgrace. His
army was wasted by famine and disease, and a tempest destroyed his
fleet. All the complicated miseries which war produces were endured by
his unfortunate troops, but a small portion of whom ever returned.
Francis, taking advantage of these misfortunes, made immense military
preparations, formed a league with the Sultan Solyman, and brought
five armies into the field. He assumed the offensive, and invaded the
Netherlands, but obtained no laurels. Charles formed a league with
Henry VIII., and the war raged, with various success, without either
party obtaining any signal advantage, for three years, when a peace
was concluded at Crespy, in 1544. Charles, being in the heart of
France with an invading army, had the apparent advantage but the
difficulty of retreating out of France in case of disaster, and the
troubles in Germany, forced him to suspend his military operations.
The pope, also, was offended because he had conceded so much to the
Protestants, and the Turks pressed him on the side of Hungary.
Moreover, he was afflicted with the gout, which indisposed him for
complicated enterprises. In view of these things, he made peace with
Francis, formed a strong alliance with the pope, and resolved to
extirpate the Protestant religion, which was the cause of so many
insurrections in Germany.

[Sidenote: Council of Trent.]

In the mean time, the pope resolved to assemble the famous Council of
Trent, the legality of which the Protestants denied. It met in
December, 1545, and was the last general council which the popes ever
assembled. It met with a view of healing the dissensions of the
church, and confirming the authority of the pope. The princes of
Europe hoped that important reforms would have been made; but nothing
of consequence was done, and the attention of the divines was directed
to dogmas rather than morals. The great number of Italian bishops
enabled the pope to have every thing his own way, in spite of the
remonstrance of the German, Spanish, and French prelates, and the
ambassadors of the different monarchs, who also had seats in the
council. The decrees of this council, respecting articles of faith,
are considered as a final authority by the Roman church. It denounced
the reform of Luther, and confirmed the various ecclesiastical
usurpations which had rendered the reformation necessary. It lasted
twenty-two years, at different intervals, during the pontificate of
five popes. The Jesuits, just rising into notice, had considerable
influence in the council, in consequence of the learning and ability
of their representatives, and especially of Laynez, the general of the
order. The Dominicans and Franciscans manifested their accustomed
animosities and rivalries, and questions were continually proposed and
agitated, which divided the assembly. The French bishops, headed by
the Cardinal of Lorraine, were opposed to the high pretensions of the
Italians, especially of Cardinal Morone, the papal legate; but, by
artifice and management, the more strenuous adherents of the pope
attained their ends.

About the time the council assembled, died three distinguished
persons--Henry VIII. of England, Francis I., and Luther. Charles V.
was freed from his great rival, and from the only private person in
his dominions he had reason to fear. He now, in good earnest, turned
his attention to the internal state of his empire, and resolved to
crush the Reformation, and, by force, if it were necessary. He
commenced by endeavoring to amuse and deceive the Protestants, and
evinced that profound dissimulation, which was one of his
characteristics. He formed a strict alliance with the pope, made a
truce with Solyman, and won over to his side Maurice and other German
princes. His military preparations and his intrigues alarmed the
Protestants, and they prepared themselves for resistance. Religious
zeal seconded their military ardor. One of the largest armies, which
had been raised in Europe for a century, took the field, and Charles,
shut up in Ratisbon, was in no condition to fight. Unfortunately for
the Protestants, they negotiated instead of acting. The emperor was in
their power, but he was one of those few persons who remained haughty
and inflexible in the midst of calamities. He pronounced the ban of
the empire against the Protestant princes, who were no match for a man
who had spent his life in the field: they acted without concert, and
committed many errors. Their forces decreased, while those of the
emperor increased by large additions from Italy and Flanders. Instead
of decisive action, the Protestants dallied and procrastinated,
unwilling to make peace, and unwilling to face their sovereign. Their
army melted away, and nothing of importance was effected.

[Sidenote: Treachery of Maurice.]

Maurice, cousin to the Elector of Saxony, with a baseness to which
history scarcely affords a parallel, deserted his allies, and joined
the emperor, purely from ambitious motives, and invaded the
territories of his kinsman with twelve thousand men. The confederates
made overtures of peace, which being rejected, they separated, and
most of them submitted to the emperor. He treated them with
haughtiness and rigor, imposed on them most humiliating terms, forced
them to renounce the league of Smalcalde, to give up their military
stores, to admit garrisons into their cities, and to pay large
contributions in money.

The Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse, however held out;
and such was the condition of the emperor, that he could not
immediately attack them. But the death of Francis gave him leisure to
invade Saxony, and the elector was defeated at the battle of
Muhlhausen, (1547,) and taken prisoner. The captive prince approached
the victor without sullenness or pride. "The fortune of war," said he,
"has made me your prisoner, most gracious emperor, and I hope to be
treated ----" Here Charles interrupted him--"And am I, at last,
acknowledged to be emperor? Charles of Ghent was the only title you
lately allowed me. You shall be treated as you deserve." At these
words he turned his back upon him with a haughty air.

[Sidenote: Captivity of the Landgrave of Hesse.]

The unfortunate prince was closely guarded by Spanish soldiers, and
brought to a trial before a court martial, at which presided the
infamous Duke of Alva, afterwards celebrated for his cruelties in
Holland. He was convicted of treason and rebellion, and sentenced to
death--a sentence which no court martial had a right to inflict on the
first prince of the empire. He was treated with ignominious harshness,
which he bore with great magnanimity, but finally made a treaty with
the emperor, by which, for the preservation of his life, he
relinquished his kingdom to Maurice.

The landgrave was not strong enough to resist the power of Charles,
after all his enemies were subdued, and he made his submission, though
Charles extorted the most rigorous conditions, he being required to
surrender his person, abandon the league of Smalcalde, implore pardon
on his knees, demolish his fortifications, and pay an enormous fine.
In short, it was an unconditional submission. Beside infinite
mortifications, he was detained a prisoner, which, on Charles's part,
was but injury added to insult--an act of fraud and injustice which
inspired the prince, and the Protestants, generally, with unbounded
indignation. The Elector of Brandenburg and Maurice in vain solicited
for his liberty, and showed the infamy to which he would be exposed if
he detained the landgrave a prisoner. But the emperor listened to
their remonstrances with the most provoking coolness, and showed very
plainly that he was resolved to crush all rebellion, suppress
Protestantism, and raise up an absolute throne in Germany, to the
subversion of its ancient constitution.

To all appearances, his triumph was complete. His great rival was
dead; his enemies were subdued and humiliated; Luther's voice was
hushed; and immense contributions filled the imperial treasury. He now
began to realize the dreams of his life. He was unquestionably, at
that time, the most absolute and powerful prince Europe has ever seen
since Charlemagne, with the exception of Napoleon.

But what an impressive moral does the history of human greatness
convey! The hour of triumph is often but the harbinger of defeat and
shame. "Pride goeth before destruction." Charles V., with all his
policy and experience, overreached himself. The failure of his
ambitious projects and the restoration of Protestantism, were brought
about by instruments the least anticipated.

[Sidenote: Heroism of Maurice..]

[Sidenote: Misfortunes of Charles..]

The cause of Protestantism and the liberties of Germany were
endangered by the treachery of Maurice, who received, as his reward,
the great electorate of Saxony. He had climbed to the summit of glory
and power. Who would suppose that this traitor prince would desert the
emperor, who had so splendidly rewarded his services, and return to
the rescue of those princes whom he had so basely betrayed? But who
can thread the labyrinth of an intriguing and selfish heart? Who can
calculate the movements of an unprincipled and restless politician?
Maurice, at length, awoke to the perception of the real condition of
his country. He saw its liberties being overturned by the most
ambitious man whom ten centuries had produced. He saw the cause, which
his convictions told him was the true one, in danger of being wrecked.
He was, moreover, wounded by the pride, coldness, and undisguised
selfishness of the emperor. He was indignant that the landgrave, his
father-in-law, should be retained a prisoner, against all the laws of
honor and of justice. He resolved to come to the rescue of his
country. He formed his plans with the greatest coolness, and exercised
a power of dissimulation that has no parallel in history. But his
address was even greater than his hypocrisy. He gained the confidence
of the Protestants, without losing that of the emperor. He even
obtained the command of an army which Charles sent to reduce the
rebellious city of Magdeburg, and, while he was besieging the city, he
was negotiating with the generals who defended it for a general union
against the emperor. Magdeburg surrendered in 1551. Its chieftains
were secretly assured that the terms of capitulation should not be
observed. His next point was, to keep the army together until his
schemes were ripened, and then to arrest the emperor, whose thoughts
now centred on the council of Trent. So he proposed sending Protestant
divines to the council, but delayed their departure by endless
negotiations about the terms of a safe conduct. He, moreover, formed a
secret treaty with Henry II., the successor of Francis, whose
animosity against Charles was as intense as was that of his father.
When his preparations were completed, he joined his army in Thuringia,
and took the field against the emperor, who had no suspicion of his
designs, and who blindly trusted to him, deeming it impossible that a
man, whom he had so honored and rewarded, could turn against him.
March 18, 1552, Maurice published his manifesto, justifying his
conduct; and his reasons were, to secure the Protestant religion, to
maintain the constitution of the empire, and deliver the Landgrave of
Hesse from bondage. He was powerfully supported by the French king,
and, with a rapidly increasing army, marched towards Innspruck, where
the emperor was quartered. The emperor was thunderstruck when he heard
the tidings of his desertion, and was in no condition to resist him.
He endeavored to gain time by negotiations, but these were without
effect. Maurice, at the head of a large army, advanced rapidly into
Upper Germany. Castles and cities surrendered as he advanced, and so
rapid was his progress, that he came near taking the emperor captive.
Charles was obliged to fly, in the middle of the night, and to travel
on a litter by torchlight, amid the passes of the Alps. He scarcely
left Innspruck before Maurice entered it--but too late to gain the
prize he sought. The emperor rallied his armies, and a vigorous war
was carried on between the contending parties, to the advantage of the
Protestants. The emperor, after a while, was obliged to make peace
with them, for his Spanish subjects were disgusted with the war, his
funds were exhausted, his forces dispersed, and his territories
threatened by the French. On the 2d of August, 1552, was concluded the
peace of Passau, which secured the return of the landgrave to his
dominions, the freedom of religion to the Protestants, and the
preservation of the German constitution. The sanguine hopes of the
emperor were dispelled, and all his ambitious schemes defeated, and he
left to meditate, in the intervals of the pains which he suffered from
the gout, on the instability of all greatness, and the vanity of human
life. Maurice was now extolled as extravagantly as he had been before
denounced, and his treachery justified, even by grave divines. But
what is most singular in the whole affair, was, that the French king,
while persecuting Protestants at home, should protect them abroad. But
this conduct may confirm, in a signal manner, the great truth of
history, that God regulates the caprice of human passions, and makes
them subservient to the accomplishment of his own purposes.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Passau.]

The labors and perplexities of Charles V. were not diminished by the
treaty of Passau. He continued his hostilities against the French and
against the Turks. He was obliged to raise the siege of Metz, which
was gallantly defended by the Duke of Guise. To his calamities in
France, were added others in Italy. Sienna revolted against his
government, and Naples was threatened by the Turks. The imperialists
were unsuccessful in Italy and in Hungary, and the Archduke Ferdinand
was obliged to abandon Transylvania. But war was carried on in the Low
Countries with considerable vigor.

Charles, whose only passion was the aggrandizement of his house, now
projected a marriage of his son, Philip, with Mary, queen of England.
The queen, dazzled by the prospect of marrying the heir of the
greatest monarch in Europe, and eager to secure his powerful aid to
reëstablish Catholicism in England, listened to his proposal, although
it was disliked by the nation. In spite of the remonstrance of the
house of commons, the marriage treaty was concluded, and the marriage
celebrated, (1554.)

[Sidenote: Character of Charles V.]

Soon after, Charles formed the extraordinary resolution of resigning
his dominions to his son, and of retiring to a quiet retreat.
Diocletian is the only instance of a prince, capable of holding the
reins of government, who had adopted a similar course. All Europe was
astonished at the resolution of Charles, and all historians of the
period have moralized on the event. But it ceases to be mysterious,
when we remember that Charles was no nearer the accomplishment of the
ends which animated his existence, than he was thirty years before;
that he was disgusted and wearied with the world; that he suffered
severely from the gout, which, at times, incapacitated him for the
government of his extensive dominions. It was never his habit to
intrust others with duties and labors which he could perform himself,
and he felt that his empire needed a more powerful protector than his
infirmities permitted him to be. He was grown prematurely old, he felt
his declining health; longed for repose, and sought religious
consolation. Of all his vast possessions, he only reserved an annual
pension of one hundred thousand crowns; resigning Spain and the Low
Countries into the hands of Philip, and the empire of Germany to his
brother Ferdinand, who had already been elected as King of the Romans.
He then set out for his retreat in Spain, which was the monastery of
St. Justus, near Placentia, situated in a lovely vale, surrounded with
lofty trees, watered by a small brook, and rendered attractive by the
fertility of the soil, and the delightful temperature of the climate.
Here he spent his last days in agricultural improvements and religious
exercises, apparently regardless of that noisy world which he had
deserted forever, and indifferent to those political storms which his
restless ambition had raised. Here his grandeur and his worldly hopes
were buried in preparing himself for the future world. He lived with
great simplicity, for two years after his retreat, and died (1558,)
from the effects of the gout, which, added to his great labors, had
shattered his constitution. He was not what the world would call a
great genius, like Napoleon; but he was a man of great sagacity,
untiring industry, and respectable attainments. He was cautious, cold,
and selfish; had but little faith in human virtue, and was a slave, in
his latter days, to superstition. He was neither affable nor
courteous, but was sincere in his attachments, and munificent in
rewarding his generals and friends. He was not envious nor cruel, but
inordinately ambitious, and intent on aggrandizing his family. This
was his characteristic defect, and this, in a man so prominent and so
favored by circumstances, was enough to keep Europe in a turmoil for
nearly half a century.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Robertson's History of Charles V. Ranke's
     History of the Reformation. Kohlrausch's History of Germany.
     Russell's Modern Europe. The above-mentioned authors are
     easily accessible, and are all that are necessary for the
     student. Robertson's History is a classic, and an immortal



The history of Europe in the sixteenth century is peculiarly the
history of the wars of kings, and of their efforts to establish
themselves and their families on absolute thrones. The monotonous, and
almost exclusive, record of royal pleasures and pursuits shows in how
little consideration the people were held. They struggled, and toiled,
and murmured as they do now. They probably had the same joys and
sorrows as in our times. But, in these times, they have considerable
influence on the government, the religion, the literature, and the
social life of nations. In the sixteenth century, this influence was
not so apparent; but power of all kinds seemed to emanate from kings
and nobles; at least from wealthy and cultivated classes. When this is
the case, when kings give a law to society, history is not
unphilosophical which recognizes chiefly their enterprises and ideas.

[Sidenote: Rise of Absolute Monarchy.]

The rise of absolute monarchy on the ruins of feudal states is one of
the chief features of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There was
every where a strong tendency to centralization. Provinces, before
independent, were controlled by a central government. Standing armies
took the place of feudal armies. Kings took away from nobles the right
to coin money, administer justice, and impose taxes. The power of the
crown became supreme and unlimited.

But some monarchs were more independent than others, in proportion as
the power of nobles was suppressed, or, as the cities sided with the
central government, or, as provinces were connected and bound
together. The power of Charles V. was somewhat limited, in Spain, by
the free spirit of the Cortes, and, in Germany, by the independence of
the princes of the empire. But, in France and England, the king was
more absolute, although he did not rule over so great extent of
territory as did the emperor of Germany; and this is one reason why
Francis I. proved so strong an antagonist to his more powerful rival.

The history of France, during the reign of this monarch, is also the
history of Charles V., since they were both engaged in the same wars;
which wars have already been alluded to. Both of these monarchs failed
in the objects of their existence. If Charles did not realize his
dream of universal empire, neither did Francis leave his kingdom, at
his death, in a more prosperous state than he found it.

Francis I. was succeeded by his son Henry II., a warlike prince, but
destitute of prudence, and under the control of women. His policy,
however, was substantially that of his father, and he continued
hostilities against the emperor of Germany, till his resignation. He
was a bitter persecutor of the Protestants, and the seeds of
subsequent civil wars were sown by his zeal. He was removed from his
throne prematurely, being killed at a tournament, in 1559, soon after
the death of Charles V. Tournaments ceased with his death.

[Sidenote: Henry VIII.]

The reign of Henry VIII., the other great contemporary of Charles V.,
merits a larger notice, not only because his reign was the
commencement of a new era in England, but, also, because the affairs,
which engaged his attention, are not much connected with continental

He ascended the throne in the year 1509, in his eighteenth year,
without opposition, and amid the universal joy of the nation; for his
manners were easy and frank, his disposition was cheerful, and his
person was handsome. He had made respectable literary attainments, and
he gave promise of considerable abilities. He was married, soon after
his accession, to Catharine, daughter of the King of Spain, and the
first years of his reign were happy, both to himself and to his
subjects. He had a well-filled treasury, which his father had amassed
with great care, a devoted people and an obedient parliament. All
circumstances seemed to conspire to strengthen his power, and to make
him the arbiter of Europe.

But this state did not last long. The young king was resolved to make
war on France, but was diverted from his aim by troubles in Scotland,
growing out of his own rapacity--a trait which ever peculiarly
distinguished him. These troubles resulted in a war with the Scots,
who were defeated at the memorable battle of Flodden Field, which Sir
Walter Scott, in his Marmion, has immortalized. The Scotch commanders,
Lenox and Argyle, both perished, as well as the valiant King James
himself. There is scarcely an illustrious Scotch family who had not an
ancestor slain on that fatal day, September 9, 1513. But the victory
was dearly bought, and Surrey, the English general, afterwards Duke of
Norfolk, was unable to pursue his advantages.

[Sidenote: Rise of Cardinal Wolsey.]

About this time, the celebrated Cardinal Wolsey began to act a
conspicuous part in English affairs. His father was a butcher of
Ipswich; but was able to give his son a good education. He studied at
Oxford, was soon distinguished for his attainments, and became tutor
to the sons of the Marquis of Dorset. The marquis gave him the rich
living of Limington; but the young parson, with his restless ambition,
and love of excitement and pleasure, was soon wearied of a country
life. He left his parish to become domestic chaplain to the treasurer
of Calais. This post introduced him to Fox, bishop of Winchester, who
shared with the Earl of Surrey the highest favors of royalty. The
minister and diplomatist, finding in the young man learning, tact,
vivacity, and talent for business, introduced him to the king, hoping
that he would prove an agreeable companion for Henry, and a useful
tool for himself. But those who are able to manage other people's
business, generally are able to manage their own. The tool of Fox
looked after his own interest chiefly. He supplanted his master in the
loyal favor, and soon acquired more favor and influence at court than
any of the ministers or favorites. Though twenty years older than
Henry, he adapted himself to all his tastes, flattered his vanity and
passions, and became his bosom friend. He gossiped with him about
Thomas Aquinas, the Indies, and affairs of gallantry. He was a great
refiner of sensual pleasures, had a passion for magnificence and
display, and a real genius for court entertainments. He could eat and
drink with the gayest courtiers, sing merry songs, and join in the
dance. He was blunt and frank in his manners; but these only concealed
craft and cunning. "It is art to conceal art," and Wolsey was a master
of all the tricks of dissimulation. He rose rapidly after he had once
gained the heart of the king. He became successively dean of York,
papal legate, cardinal, bishop of Lincoln, archbishop of York, and
lord chancellor. He also obtained the administration and the
temporalities of the rich abbey of St. Albans, and of the bishoprics
of Bath and Wells, Durham and Winchester. By these gifts, his revenues
almost equalled those of the crown; and he squandered them in a style
of unparalleled extravagance. He dressed in purple and gold, supported
a train of eight hundred persons, and built Hampton Court. He was the
channel through which the royal favors flowed. But he made a good
chancellor, dispensed justice, repressed the power of the nobles,
encouraged and rewarded literary men, and endowed colleges. He was the
most magnificent and the most powerful subject that England has ever
seen. Even nobles were proud to join his train of dependants. There
was nothing sordid or vulgar, however, in all his ostentation. Henry
took pleasure in his pomp, for it was a reflection of the greatness of
his own majesty.

[Sidenote: Magnificence of Henry VIII.]

The first years of the reign of Henry VIII., after the battle of
Flodden Field, were spent in pleasure, and in great public displays of
magnificence, which charmed the people, and made him a popular idol.
Among these, the interview of the king with Francis I. is the most
noted, on the 4th of June, 1520; the most gorgeous pageant of the
sixteenth century, designed by Wolsey, who had a genius for such
things. The monarchs met in a beautiful valley, where jousts and
tournaments were held, and where was exhibited all the magnificence
which the united resources of France and England could command. The
interview was sought by Francis to win, through Wolsey, the favor of
the king, and to counterbalance the advantages which it was supposed
Charles V. had gained on a previous visit to the king at Dover.

The getting up of the "Field of the Cloth of Gold" created some
murmurs among the English nobility, many of whom were injured by the
expensive tastes of Wolsey. Among these was the Duke of Buckingham,
hereditary high constable of England, and connected with the royal
house of the Plantagenets. Henry, from motives of jealousy, both on
account of his birth and fortune, had long singled him out as his
victim. He was, also, obnoxious to Wolsey, since he would not flatter
his pride, and he had, moreover, insulted him. It is very easy for a
king to find a pretence for committing a crime; and Buckingham was
arrested, tried, and executed, for making traitorous prophecies. His
real crime was in being more powerful than it suited the policy of the
king. With the death of Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521,
commenced the bloody cruelty of Henry VIII.

Soon after the death of Buckingham, the king made himself notorious
for his theological writings against Luther, whose doctrines he
detested. He ever had a taste for theological disputation, and a love
of the schoolmen. His tracts against Luther, very respectable for
talent and learning, though disgraced by coarse and vulgar
vituperation, secured for him the favor of the pope, who bestowed upon
him the title of "Defender of the Faith;" and a strong alliance
existed between them until the divorce of Queen Catharine.

The difficulties and delays, attending this act of cruelty and
injustice, constitute no small part of the domestic history of England
during the reign of Henry VIII. Any event, which furnishes subjects of
universal gossip and discussion, is ever worthy of historical notice,
inasmuch as it shows prevailing opinions and tastes.

Queen Catharine, daughter of Ferdinand, King of Spain, was eight years
older than her husband, whom she married in the first year of his
reign. She had been previously married to his brother Arthur, who died
of the plague in 1502. For several years after her marriage with
Henry VIII., her domestic happiness was a subject of remark; and the
emperor, Charles V., congratulated her on her brilliant fortune. She
was beautiful, sincere, accomplished; religious, and disinterested,
and every way calculated to secure, as she had won, the king's

[Sidenote: Anne Boleyn.]

But among her maids of honor there was one peculiarly accomplished and
fascinating, to whom the king transferred his affections with unwonted
vehemence. This was Anne Boleyn, daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, who,
from his great wealth, married Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the first
duke of Norfolk. This noble alliance brought Sir Thomas Boleyn into
close connection with royalty, and led to the appointment of his
daughter to the high post which she held at the court of Queen
Catharine. It is probable that the king suppressed his passion for
some time; and it would have been longer concealed, even from its
object, had not his jealousy been excited by her attachment to Percy,
son of the Earl of Northumberland. The king at last made known his
passion; but the daughter of the Howards was too proud, or too
politic, or too high principled, to listen to his overtures. It was
only _as queen of England_, that she would return the passion of her
royal lover. Moreover, she resolved to be revenged on the all-powerful
cardinal, for assisting in her separation from Percy, whom she loved
with romantic attachment. The king waited four years, but Anne
remained inflexibly virtuous. He then meditated the divorce from
Catharine, as the only way to accomplish the object which now seemed
to animate his existence. He confided the matter to his favorite
minister; but Wolsey was thunderstruck at the disclosure, and remained
with him four hours on his knees, to dissuade him from a step which
he justly regarded as madness. Here Wolsey appears as an honest man
and a true friend; but royal infatuation knows neither wisdom,
justice, nor humanity. Wolsey, as a man of the world, here made a
blunder, and departed from the policy he had hitherto pursued--that of
flattering the humors of his absolute master. Wolsey, however,
recommended the king to consult the divines; for Henry pretended that,
after nearly twenty years of married life, he had conscientious
scruples about the lawfulness of his marriage. The learned English
doctors were afraid to pronounce their opinions, and suggested a
reference to the fathers. But the king was not content with their
authority; he appealed to the pope, and to the decisions of half of
the universities of Europe. It seems very singular that a sovereign so
unprincipled, unscrupulous, and passionate, and yet so absolute and
powerful as was Henry, should have wasted his time and money in
seeking countenance to an act on which he was fully determined, and
which countenance he never could reasonably hope to secure. But his
character was made up of contradictions. His caprice, violence, and
want of good faith, were strangely blended with superstition and
reverence for the authority of the church. His temper urged him to the
most rigorous measure of injustice; and his injustice produced no
shame, although he was restrained somewhat by the opinions of the very
men whom he did not hesitate to murder.

[Sidenote: Queen Catharine.]

Queen Catharine, besides being a virtuous and excellent woman, was
powerfully allied, and was a zealous Catholic. Her repudiation,
therefore, could not take place without offending the very persons
whose favor the king was most anxious to conciliate especially the
Emperor Charles, her nephew, and the pope, and all the high
dignitaries and adherents of the church. Even Wolsey could not in
honor favor the divorce, although it was his policy to do so. In
consequence of his intrigues, and the scandal and offence so
outrageous an act as the divorce of Catharine must necessarily produce
throughout the civilized world, Henry long delayed to bring the matter
to a crisis, being afraid of a war with Charles V., and of the
anathemas of the pope. Moreover, he hoped to gain him over, for the
pope had sent Cardinal Campeggio to London, to hold, with his legate
Wolsey, a court to hear the case. But it was the farthest from his
intention to grant the divorce, for the pope was more afraid of
Charles V. than he was of Henry VIII.

[Sidenote: Disgrace and Death of Wolsey.]

The court settled nothing, and the king's wrath now turned towards
Wolsey, whom he suspected of secretly thwarting his measures. The
accomplished courtier, so long accustomed to the smiles and favors of
royalty, could not bear his disgrace with dignity. The proudest man in
England became, all at once, the meanest. He wept, he cringed, he lost
his spirits; he surrendered his palace, his treasures, his honors, and
his offices, into the hands of him who gave them to him, without a
single expostulation: wrote most abject letters to "his most gracious,
most merciful, and most pious sovereign lord;" and died of a broken
heart on his way to a prison and the scaffold. "Had I but served my
God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given
me over in my gray hairs"--these were the words of the dying cardinal;
his sad confessions on experiencing the vanity of human life. But the
vindictive prince suffered no word of sorrow or regret to escape him,
when he heard of the death of his prime minister, and his intimate
friend for twenty years.

[Sidenote: More--Cranmer--Cromwell.]

Shortly after the disgrace of Wolsey, which happened nearly a year
before his death, (1529,) three remarkable men began to figure in
English politics and history. These were Sir Thomas More, Thomas
Cranmer, and Thomas Cromwell. More was the most accomplished, most
learned, and most enlightened of the three. He was a Catholic, but
very exemplary in his life, and charitable in his views. In moral
elevation of character, and beautiful serenity of soul, the annals of
the great men of his country furnish no superior. His extensive
erudition and moral integrity alone secured him the official station
which Wolsey held as lord chancellor. He was always the intimate
friend of the king, and his conversation, so enlivened by wit, and so
rich and varied in matter, caused his society to be universally
sought. He discharged his duties with singular conscientiousness and
ability; and no one ever had cause to complain that justice was not
rendered him.

Cranmer's elevation was owing to a fortunate circumstance,
notwithstanding his exalted merit. He happened to say, while tutor to
a gentleman of the name of Cressy, in the hearing of Dr. Gardiner,
then secretary to Henry, that the proper way to settle the difficulty
about the divorce was, to appeal to learned men, who would settle the
matter on the sole authority of the Bible, without reference to the
pope. This remark was reported to the king, and Cranmer was sent to
reside with the father of Anne Boleyn, and was employed in writing a
treatise to support his opinion. His ability led to further honors,
until, on the death of Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, he was
appointed to the vacant see, the first office in dignity and
importance in the kingdom, and from which no king, however absolute,
could eject him, except by the loss of life. We shall see that, in all
matters of religion, Cranmer was the ruling spirit in England until
the accession of Mary.

Cromwell's origin was even more obscure than that of Wolsey's; but he
received his education at one of the universities. We first hear of
him as a clerk in an English factory at Antwerp, then as a soldier in
the army of the Constable Bourbon when it sacked Rome, then as a clerk
in a mercantile house in Venice, and then again as a lawyer in
England, where he attracted the attention of Wolsey, who made him his
solicitor, and employed him in the dissolution of monasteries. He then
became a member of the house of commons, where his address and
business talents were conspicuous. He was well received at court, and
confirmed in the stewardship of the monasteries, after the disgrace of
his master. His office brought him often into personal conference with
the king; and, at one of these, he recommended him to deny the
authority of the pope altogether, and declare himself supreme head of
the church. The boldness of this advice was congenial to the temper of
the king, worried by the opposition of Rome to his intended divorce,
and Cromwell became a member of the privy council. His fortune was
thus made by his seasonable advice. All who opposed the king were sure
to fall, and all who favored him were sure to rise, as must ever be
the case in an absolute monarchy, where the king is the centre and the
fountain of all honor and dignity.

With such ministers as Cranmer and Cromwell, the measures of Henry
were now prompt and bold. Queen Catharine was soon disposed of; she
was divorced and disgraced, and Anne Boleyn was elevated to her
throne, (1533.) The anathemas of the pope and the outcry of all Europe
followed. Sir Thomas More resigned the seals, and retired to poverty
and solitude. But he was not permitted to enjoy his retirement long.
Refusing to take the oath of supremacy to Henry, as head of the church
as well as of the state, he was executed, with other illustrious
Catholics. The execution of More was the most cruel and uncalled-for
act of the whole reign, and entailed on its author the execrations of
all the learned and virtuous men in Europe, most of whom appreciated
the transcendent excellences of the murdered chancellor, the author of
the Utopia, and the Boethius of his age.

[Sidenote: Quarrel with the Pope.]

The fulminations of the pope only excited Henry to more decided
opposition. The parliament, controlled by Cromwell, acknowledged him
as the supreme head of the Church of England, and the separation from
Rome was final and irrevocable. The tenths were annexed to the crown,
and the bishops took a new oath of supremacy.

The independence of the Church of England, effected in 1535, was
followed by important consequences, and was the first step to the
reformation, afterwards perfected by Edward VI. But as the first acts
of the reformation were prompted by political considerations, the
reformers in England, during the reign of Henry VIII., should be
considered chiefly in a political point of view. The separation from
Rome, during the reign of this prince, was not followed by the
abolition of the Roman Catholic worship, nor any of the rites and
ceremonies of that church. Nor was religious toleration secured. Every
thing was subservient to the royal conscience, and a secular, instead
of an ecclesiastical pope, still reigned in England.

[Sidenote: Abolition of Monasteries.]

Henry soon found that his new position, as head of the English Church,
imposed new duties and cares: he therefore established a separate
department for the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs, over which he
placed the unscrupulous, but energetic Cromwell--a fit minister to
such a monarch. A layman, who hated the clergy, and who looked solely
to the pecuniary interests of his master, was thus placed over the
highest prelates of the church. But Cromwell, in consulting the
pecuniary interests of the king, also had an eye to the political
interests of the kingdom. He was a sagacious and practical man of the
world, and was disgusted with the vices of the clergy, and especially
with the custom of sending money to Rome, in the shape of annates and
taxes. This evil he remedied, which tended greatly to enrich the
country, for the popes at this time were peculiarly extortionate. He
then turned his attention to the reform of the whole monastic
institution, but with an eye also to its entire destruction. Cromwell
hated the monks. They were lazy, ignorant, and debauched. They were a
great burden on the people, and were as insolent and proud as they
were idle and profligate. The country swarmed with them. The roads,
taverns, and the houses of the credulous were infested with them.
Cranmer, who sympathized with the German reformers, hated them on
religious grounds, and readily coöperated with Cromwell; while the
king, whose extortion and rapacity knew no bounds, listened, with
glistening eye, to the suggestions of his two favorite ministers. The
nation was suddenly astounded with the intelligence that parliament
had passed a bill, giving to the king and his heirs all the monastic
establishments in the kingdom, which did not exceed two hundred pounds
a year. Three hundred and eighty thus fell at a blow, whereby the king
was enriched by thirty-two thousand pounds a year, and one hundred
thousand pounds ready money--an immense sum in that age. By this
spoliation, perhaps called for, but exceedingly unjust and harsh, and
in violation of all the rights of property, thousands were reduced to
beggary and misery, while there was scarcely an eminent man in the
kingdom who did not come in for a share of the plunder. Vast grants of
lands were bestowed by the king on his favorites and courtiers, in
order to appease the nation; and thus the foundations of many of the
great estates of the English nobility were laid. The spoliations,
however, led to many serious riots and insurrections, especially in
Lincolnshire. At one place there were forty thousand rebels under
arms; but they were easily suppressed.

[Sidenote: Suppression of Monasteries.]

The rapacious king was not satisfied with the plunder he had secured,
and, in 1539, the final suppression of all the monasteries in England
was decreed. Then followed the seizure of all the church property in
England connected with monasteries--shrines, relics, gold and silver
vessels of immense value and rarity, lands, and churches. Canterbury,
Bath, Merton, Stratford, Bury St. Edmonds, Glastonbury, and St.
Albans, suffered most, and many of those beautiful monuments of Gothic
architecture were levelled with the dust. Their destruction deprived
the people of many physical accommodations, for they had been
hospitals and caravansaries, as well as "cages of unclean birds."
Neither the church nor the universities profited much from the
confiscation of so much property, and only six new bishoprics were
formed, and only fourteen abbeys were converted into cathedrals and
collegiate churches. The king and the nobles were the only gainers by
the spoil; the people obtained no advantage in that age, although they
have in succeeding ages.

After renouncing the pope's supremacy, and suppressing the
monasteries, where were collected the treasures of the middle ages,
one would naturally suppose that the king would have gone farther, and
changed the religion of his people. But Henry hated Luther and his
doctrines, and did not hate the pope, or the religion of which he was
the sovereign pontiff. He loved gold and new wives better than the
interests of the Catholic church. Reform proceeded no farther in his
reign; while, on the other hand, he caused a decree to pass both
houses of his timid, complying parliament, by which the doctrines of
transubstantiation, the communion of one kind, the celibacy of the
clergy, masses, and auricular confession, were established; and any
departure from, or denial of, these subjected the offender to the
punishment of death.

[Sidenote: Execution of Anne Boleyn.]

But Henry had new domestic difficulties long before the suppression of
monasteries--the great political act of Thomas Cromwell. His new wife,
Anne Boleyn, was suspected of the crime of inconstancy, and at the
very time when she had reached the summit of power, and the
gratification of all worldly wishes. She had been very vain, and fond
of display and of ornaments; but the latter years of her life were
marked by her munificence, and attachment to the reform doctrines. But
her power ceased almost as soon as she became queen. She could win,
but she could not retain, the affections of her royal husband. His
passion subsided into languor, and ended in disgust. The beauty of
Anne Boleyn was soon forgotten when Jane Seymour, her maid of honor,
attracted the attention of Henry. To make this lady his wife now
became the object of his life, and this could only be effected by the
divorce of his queen, who gave occasion for scandal by the levity and
freedom of her manners. Henry believed every insinuation against her,
because he wished to believe her guilty. There was but a step between
the belief of guilt and the resolution to destroy her. She was
committed to the Tower, impeached, brought to trial, condemned without
evidence, and executed without remorse. Even Cranmer, whom she had
honored and befriended, dared not defend her, although he must have
believed in her innocence. He knew the temper of the master whom he
served too well to risk much in her defence. She was the first woman
who had been beheaded in the annals of England. Not one of the
Plantagenet kings ever murdered a woman. But the age of chivalry was
past, and the sentiments it encouraged found no response in the bosom
of such a sensual and vindictive monarch as was Henry VIII.

The very day after the execution of that accomplished lady, for whose
sake the king had squandered the treasures of his kingdom, and had
kept Christendom in a ferment, he married Jane Seymour, "the fairest,
discreetest, and most meritorious of all his wives," as the historians
say, yet a woman who did not hesitate to steal the affections of Henry
and receive his addresses, while his queen was devoted to her husband.
But Anne Boleyn had done so before her, and suffered a natural

Jane Seymour lived only eighteen months after her marriage, and died
two days after giving birth to a son, afterwards Edward VI. She was
one of those passive women who make neither friends nor enemies. She
indulged in no wit or repartee, like her brilliant but less beautiful
predecessor, and she passed her regal life without uttering a sentence
or a sentiment which has been deemed worthy of preservation.

[Sidenote: Anne of Cleves--Catharine Howard.]

She had been dead about a month, when the king looked round for
another wife, and besought Francis I. to send the most beautiful
ladies of his kingdom to Calais, that he might there inspect them, and
select one according to his taste. But this Oriental notion was not
indulged by the French king, who had more taste and delicacy; and
Henry remained without a wife for more than two years, the princesses
of Europe not being very eager to put themselves in the power of this
royal Bluebeard. At last, at the suggestion of Cromwell, he was
affianced to Anne, daughter of the Duke of Cleves, whose home was on
the banks of the Rhine, in the city of Dusseldorf.

The king no sooner set his eyes on her than he was disappointed and
disgusted, and gave vent to his feelings before Cromwell, calling her
a "great Flanders mare." Nevertheless, he consummated his marriage,
although his disgust constantly increased. This mistake of Cromwell
was fatal to his ambitious hopes. The king vented on him all the
displeasure which had been gathering in his embittered soul.
Cromwell's doom was sealed. He had offended an absolute monarch. He
was accused of heresy and treason,--the common accusations in that age
against men devoted to destruction,--tried by a servile board of
judges, condemned, and judicially murdered, in 1540. In his
misfortunes, he showed no more fortitude than Wolsey. The atmosphere
of a court is fatal to all moral elevation.

But, before his execution, Anne of Cleves, a virtuous and worthy
woman, was divorced, and Catharine Howard, granddaughter of the victor
of Flodden Field, became queen of England. The king now fancied that
his domestic felicity was complete; but, soon after his marriage, it
was discovered that his wife had formerly led a dissolute life, and
had been unfaithful also to her royal master. When the proofs of her
incontinence were presented to him, he burst into a flood of tears;
but soon his natural ferocity returned, and his guilty wife expiated
her crime by death on the scaffold, in 1542.

Henry's sixth and last wife was Catharine Parr, relict of Lord
Latimer, a woman of great sagacity, prudence, and good sense. She
favored the reformers, but had sufficient address to keep her opinions
from the king, who would have executed her, had he suspected her real
views. She survived her husband, who died four years after her
marriage, in 1547.

[Sidenote: Last Days of Henry.]

The last years of any tyrant are always melancholy, and those of Henry
were embittered by jealousies and domestic troubles. His finances were
deranged, his treasury exhausted, and his subjects discontented. He
was often at war with the Scots, and different continental powers. He
added religious persecution to his other bad traits, and executed, for
their opinions, some of the best people in the kingdom. His father had
left him the richest sovereign of Europe, and he had seized the abbey
lands, and extorted heavy sums from his oppressed people; and yet he
was poor. All his wishes were apparently gratified; and yet he was the
most miserable man in his dominions. He exhausted all the sources of
pleasure, and nothing remained but satiety and disgust. His mind and
his body were alike diseased. His inordinate gluttony made him most
inconveniently corpulent, and produced ulcers and the gout. It was
dangerous to approach this "corrupt mass of dying tyranny." It was
impossible to please him, and the least contradiction drove him into
fits of madness and frenzy.

In his latter days, he ordered, in a fit of jealousy, the execution of
the Duke of Norfolk, the first nobleman of the kingdom, who had given
offence to the Earl of Hertford, uncle to the young prince of Wales,
and the founder of the greatness of the Seymours. But the tyrant died
before the sentence was carried into effect, much to the joy of the
good people of England, whom he had robbed and massacred. Several
thousands perished by the axe of the executioner during his
disgraceful reign, and some of them were the lights of the age, and
the glory of their country.

Tyrannical as was Henry VIII., still he ever ruled by the laws. He did
not abolish parliament, or retrench its privileges. The parliament
authorized all his taxes, and gave sanction to all his violent
measures. The parliament was his supple instrument; still, had the
parliament resisted his will, doubtless he would have dissolved it, as
did the Stuart princes. But it was not, in his reign, prepared for
resistance, and the king had every thing after his own way.

[Sidenote: Death of Henry VIII.]

By nature, he was amiable, generous, and munificent. But his temper
was spoiled by self-indulgence and incessant flattery. The moroseness
he exhibited in his latter days was partly the effect of physical
disease, brought about, indeed, by intemperance and gluttony. He was
faithful to his wives, so long as he lived with them; and, while he
doted on them, listened to their advice. But few of his advisers dared
tell him the truth; and Cranmer himself can never be exculpated from
flattering his perverted conscience. No one had the courage to tell
him he was dying but one of the nobles of the court. He died, in great
agony, June, 1547, in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, and the
fifty-sixth of his age, and was buried, with great pomp, in St. George
Chapel, Windsor Castle.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--The best English histories of the reign of
     Henry VIII. are the standard ones of Hume and Lingard. The
     Pictorial History, in spite of its pictures, is also
     excellent. Burnet should be consulted in reference to
     ecclesiastical matters, and Hallam, in reference to the
     constitution. See also the lives of Wolsey, Sir Thomas More,
     and Cranmer. The lives of Henry's queens have been best
     narrated by Agnes Strickland.



[Sidenote: War with Scotland.]

Henry VIII. was succeeded by his son, Edward VI., a boy of nine years
of age, learned, pious, and precocious. Still he was a boy; and, as
such, was a king but in name. The history of his reign is the history
of the acts of his ministers.

The late king left a will, appointing sixteen persons, mostly members
of his council, to be guardians of his son, and rulers of the nation
during his minority. The Earl of Hertford, being uncle of the king,
was unanimously named protector.

The first thing the council did was to look after themselves, that is,
to give themselves titles and revenues. Hertford became Duke of
Somerset; Essex, Marquis of Northampton; Lisle, Earl of Warwick; the
Chancellor Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. At the head of these
nobles was Somerset. He was a Protestant, and therefore prosecuted
those reforms which Cranmer had before projected. Cranmer, as member
of the council, archbishop of Canterbury, and friend of Somerset, had
ample scope to prosecute his measures.

The history of this reign is not important in a political point of
view, and relates chiefly to the completion of the reformation, and to
the squabbles and jealousies of the great lords who formed the council
of regency.

The most important event, of a political character, was a war with
Scotland, growing out of the attempts of the late king to unite both
nations under one government. In consequence, Scotland was invaded by
the Duke of Somerset, at the head of eighteen thousand men. A great
battle was fought, in which ten thousand of the Scots were slain. But
the protector was compelled to return to England, without following up
the fruits of victory, in consequence of cabals at court. His brother,
Lord Seymour, a man of reckless ambition, had married the queen
dowager, and openly aspired to the government of the kingdom. He
endeavored to seduce the youthful king, and he had provided arms for
ten thousand men.

The protector sought to win his brother from his treasonable designs
by kindness and favors; but, all his measures proving ineffectual, he
was arrested, tried, and executed, for high treason.

[Sidenote: Rebellions and Discontents.]

But Somerset had a more dangerous enemy than his brother; and this was
the Earl of Warwick, who obtained great popularity by his suppression
of a dangerous insurrection, the greatest the country had witnessed
since Jack Cade's rebellion, one hundred years before. The discontent
of the people appears to have arisen from their actual suffering. Coin
had depreciated, without a corresponding rise of wages, and labor was
cheap, because tillage lands were converted to pasturage. The popular
discontent was aggravated by the changes which the reformers
introduced, and which the peasantry were the last to appreciate. The
priests and ejected monks increased the discontent, until it broke out
into a flame.

The protector made himself unpopular with the council by a law which
he caused to be passed against enclosures; and, as he lost influence,
his great rival, Warwick, gained power. Somerset, at last, was obliged
to resign his protectorship; and Warwick, who had suppressed the
rebellion, formed the chief of a new council of regency. He was a man
of greater talents than Somerset, and equal ambition, and more fitted
for stormy times.

As soon as his power was established, and the country was at peace,
and he had gained friends, he began to execute those projects of
ambition which he had long formed. The earldom of Northumberland
having reverted to the crown, Warwick aspired to the extinct title and
the estates, and procured for himself a grant of the same, with the
title of duke. But there still remained a bar to his elevation; and
this was the opposition of the Duke of Somerset, who, though disgraced
and unpopular, was still powerful. It is unfortunate to be in the way
of a great man's career, and Somerset paid the penalty of his
opposition--the common fate of unsuccessful rivals in unsettled times.
He was accused of treason, condemned, and executed, (1552.)

[Sidenote: Rivalry of the Great Nobles.]

Northumberland, as the new dictator, seemed to have attained the
highest elevation to which a subject could aspire. In rank, power, and
property, he was second only to the royal family, but his ambition
knew no bounds, and he began his intrigues to induce the young king,
whose health was rapidly failing, and who was zealously attached to
Protestantism, to set aside the succession of his sister Mary to the
throne, really in view of the danger to which the reformers would be
subjected, but under pretence of her declared illegitimacy, which
would also set aside the claims of the Princess Elizabeth. Mary, Queen
of Scots, was to be set aside on the ground of the will of the late
king, and the succession would therefore devolve on the Lady Jane
Grey, granddaughter of the Duke of Suffolk and of the French queen,
whom he hoped to unite in marriage with his son. This was a
deeply-laid scheme, and came near being successful, since Edward
listened to it with pleasure. Northumberland then sought to gain over
the judges and other persons of distinction, and succeeded by bribery
and intimidation. At this juncture, the young king died, possessed of
all the accomplishments which could grace a youth of sixteen, but
still a tool in the hands of his ministers.

[Sidenote: Religious Reforms.]

Such were the political movements of this reign--memorable for the
rivalries of the great nobles. But it is chiefly distinguished for the
changes which were made in the church establishment, and the
introduction of the principles of the continental reformers. No
changes of importance were ever made beyond what Cranmer and his
associates effected. Indeed, all that an absolute monarch could do,
was done, and done with prudence, sagacity, and moderation. The people
quietly--except in some rural districts--acquiesced in the change.
Most of the clergy took the new oath of allegiance to Edward VI., as
supreme head of the church; and very few suffered from religious
persecution. There is no period in English history when such important
changes were made, with so little bloodshed. Cranmer always watched
the temper of the nation, and did nothing without great caution. Still
a great change was effected--no less than a complete change from
Romanism to Protestantism. But it was not so radical a reform as the
Puritans subsequently desired, since the hierarchy and a liturgy, and
clerical badges and dresses, were retained. It was the fortune of
Cranmer, during the six years of Edward's reign, to effect the two
great objects of which the English church has ever since been
proud--the removal of Roman abuses, and the establishment of the creed
of Luther and Calvin; and this without sweeping away the union of
church and state, which, indeed, was more intimate than before the
reformation. The papal power was completely subverted. Nothing more
remained to be done by Cranmer. He had compiled the Book of Common
Prayer, abolished the old Latin service, the worship of images, the
ceremony of the mass, and auricular confessions. He turned the altars
into communion tables, set up the singing of psalms in the service,
caused the communion to be administered in both kinds to the laity,
added the litany to the ritual, prepared a book of homilies for the
clergy, invited learned men to settle in England, and magnificently
endowed schools and universities.

The Reformation is divested of much interest, since it was the work of
_authority_, rather than the result of _popular convictions_. But
Cranmer won immortal honor for his skilful management, and for making
no more changes than he could sustain. A large part of the English
nation still regard his works as perfect, and are sincerely and
enthusiastically attached to the form which he gave to his church.

The hopes of his party were suddenly dispelled by the death of the
amiable prince whom he controlled, 6th of July, 1553. The succession
to the throne fell to the Princess Mary, or, as princesses were then
called, the _Lady_ Mary; nor could all the arts of Northumberland
exclude her from the enjoyment of her rights. This ambitious nobleman
contrived to keep the death of Edward VI. a secret two days, and
secure from the Mayor and Alderman of London a promise to respect the
will of the late king. In consequence, the Lady Jane Grey was
proclaimed Queen of England. "So far was she from any desire of this
advancement, that she began to act her part of royalty with many
tears, thus plainly showing to those who had access to her, that she
was forced by her relations and friends to this high, but dangerous
post." She was accomplished, beautiful, and amiable, devoted to her
young husband, and very fond of Plato, whom she read in the original.

[Sidenote: Execution of Northumberland.]

But Mary's friends exerted themselves, and her cause--the cause of
legitimacy, rather than that of Catholicism--gained ground.
Northumberland was unequal to this crisis, and he was very feebly
sustained. His forces were suppressed, his schemes failed, and his
hopes fled. From rebellion, to the scaffold, there is but a step; and
this great nobleman suffered the fate of Somerset, his former rival.
His execution confirms one of the most striking facts in the history
of absolute monarchies, when the idea of legitimacy is firmly
impressed on the national mind; and that is, that no subject, or
confederacy of subjects, however powerful, stand much chance in
resisting the claims or the will of a legitimate prince. A nod or a
word, from such a king, can consign the greatest noble to hopeless
impotence. And he can do this from the mighty and mysterious force of
ideas alone. Neither king nor parliament can ever resist the
omnipotence of popular ideas. When ideas establish despots on their
thrones, they are safe. When ideas demand their dethronement, no
forces can long sustain them. The age of Queen Mary was the period of
the most unchecked absolutism in England. Mary was apparently a
powerless woman when Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen by the party
of Northumberland, and still she had but to signify her intentions to
claim her rights, and the nation was prostrate at her feet. The
Protestant party dreaded her accession; but loyalty was a stronger
principle than even Protestantism, and she was soon firmly established
in the absolute throne of Henry VIII.

Then almost immediately followed a total change in the administration,
which affected both the political and religious state of the country.
Those who had languished in confinement, on account of their religion,
obtained their liberty, and were elevated to power. Gardiner, Bonner,
and other Catholic bishops, were restored to their sees, while
Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Hooper Coverdale, and other eminent
Protestants, were imprisoned. All the statutes of Edward VI.
pertaining to religion were repealed, and the queen sent assurances to
the pope of her allegiance to his see. Cardinal Pole, descended from
the royal family of England, and a man of great probity, moderation,
and worth, was sent as legate of the pope. Gardiner, Bishop of
Winchester, was made lord chancellor, and became the prime minister.
He and his associates recommended violent councils; and a reign,
unparalleled in England for religious persecution, commenced.

[Sidenote: Marriage of the Queen.]

Soon after the queen's accession, she married Philip, son of the
Emperor Charles, and heir of the Spanish monarchy. This marriage,
brought about by the intrigues of the emperor, and favored by the
Catholic party, was quite acceptable to Mary, whose issue would
inherit the thrones of Spain and England. But ambitious matches are
seldom happy, especially when the wife is much older than the husband,
as was the fact in this instance. Mary, however, was attached to
Philip, although he treated her with great indifference.

This Spanish match, the most brilliant of that age, failed, however,
to satisfy the English, who had no notion of becoming the subjects of
the King of Spain. In consequence of this disaffection, a rebellion
broke out, in which Sir Thomas Wyatt was the most conspicuous, and in
which the Duke of Suffolk, and even the Lady Jane and her husband,
were implicated, though unjustly. The rebellion was easily suppressed,
and the leaders sent to the Tower. Then followed one of the most
melancholy executions of this reign--that of the Lady Jane Grey, who
had been reprieved three months before. The queen urged the plea of
self-defence, and the safety of the realm--the same that Queen
Elizabeth, in after times, made in reference to the Queen of the
Scots. Her unfortunate fate excited great popular compassion, and she
suffered with a martyr's constancy, and also her husband--two
illustrious victims, sacrificed in consequence of the ambition of
their relatives, and the jealousy of the queen. The Duke of Suffolk,
the father of Lady Jane, was also executed, and deserved his fate,
according to the ideas of his age. The Princess Elizabeth expected
also to be sacrificed, both because she was a Protestant and the next
heiress to the throne. But she carefully avoided giving any offence,
and managed with such consummate prudence, that she was preserved for
the future glory and welfare of the realm.

[Sidenote: Religious Persecution.]

The year 1555 opened gloomily for the Protestants. The prisons were
all crowded with the victims of religious persecution, and bigoted
inquisitors had only to prepare their fagots and stakes. Over a
thousand ministers were ejected from their livings, and such as
escaped further persecution fled to the continent. No fewer than two
hundred and eighty-eight persons, among whom were five bishops,
twenty-one clergymen, fifty-five women, and four children, were burned
for religious opinions, besides many thousands who suffered various
other forms of persecution. The constancy of Ridley, Latimer, and
Hooper has immortalized their names on the list of illustrious
martyrs: but the greatest of all the victims was Cranmer, Archbishop
of Canterbury. The most artful and insinuating promises were held out
to him, to induce him to retract. Life and dignities were promised
him, if he would consent to betray his cause. In an evil hour, he
yielded to the temptation, and consented to sell his soul. Timid,
heartbroken, and old, the love of life and the fear of death were
stronger than the voice of conscience and his duty to his God. But,
when he found he was mocked, he came to himself, and suffered
patiently and heroically. His death was glorious, as his life was
useful; and the sincerity of his repentance redeemed his memory from
shame. Cranmer may be considered as the great author of the English
Reformation, and one of the most worthy and enlightened men of his
age; but he was timid, politic, and time-serving. The Reformation
produced no perfect characters in any country. Some great defect
blemished the lives of all the illustrious men who have justly earned
imperishable glory. But the character of such men as Cranmer, and
Ridley, and Latimer, present an interesting contrast to those of
Gardiner and Bonner. The former did show, however, some lenity in the
latter years of this reign of Mary; but the latter, the Bishop of
London, gloated to the last in the blood which he caused to be shed.
He even whipped the Protestant prisoners with his own hands, and once
pulled out the beard of an heretical weaver, and held his finger in
the flame of a candle, till the veins shrunk and burnt, that he might
realize what the pain of burning was. So blind and cruel is religious

But Providence ordered that the religious persecution, which is
attributed to Mary, but which, in strict justice, should be ascribed
to her counsellors and ministers, should prepare the way for a popular
and a spiritual movement in the subsequent reign. The fires of
Smithfield, and the cruelties of the pillory and the prison, opened
the eyes of the nation to the spirit of the old religion, and also
caused the flight of many distinguished men to Frankfort and Geneva,
where they learned the principles of both religious and civil liberty.
"The blood of martyrs proved the seed of the church"--a sublime truth,
revealed to Cranmer and Ridley amid the fires which consumed their
venerable bodies; and not to them merely, but to all who witnessed
their serenity, and heard their shouts of triumph when this mortal
passed to immortality. Heretics increased with the progress of
persecution, and firm conviction took the place of a blind confession
of dogmas. "It was not," says Milman, "until Christ was lain in his
rock-hewn sepulchre, that the history of Christianity commenced." We
might add, it was not until the fires of Smithfield were lighted, that
great spiritual ideas took hold of the popular mind, and the intense
religious earnestness appeared which has so often characterized the
English nation. The progress which man makes is generally seen through
disaster, suffering, and sorrow. This is one of the fundamental truths
which history teaches.

[Sidenote: Character of Mary.]

The last years of the reign of Mary were miserable to herself, and
disastrous to the nation. Her royal husband did not return her warm
affections, and left England forever. She embarked in a ruinous war
with France, and gained nothing but disgrace. Her health failed, and
her disposition became gloomy. She continued, to the last, most
intolerant in her religious opinions, and thought more of restoring
Romanism, than of promoting the interests of her kingdom. Her heart
was bruised and broken, and her life was a succession of sorrows. It
is fashionable to call this unfortunate queen the "bloody Mary," and
not allow her a single virtue; but she was affectionate, sincere,
high-minded, and shrunk from the dissimulation and intrigue which
characterized "the virgin queen"--the name given to her masculine but
energetic successor. Mary was capable of the warmest friendship; was
attentive and considerate to her servants, charitable to the poor, and
sympathetic with the unfortunate, when not blinded by her religious
prejudices. She had many accomplishments, and a very severe taste, and
was not addicted to oaths, as was Queen Elizabeth and her royal
father. She was, however, a bigoted Catholic; and how could partisan
historians see or acknowledge her merits?

[Sidenote: Accession of Elizabeth.]

But her reign was disastrous, and the nation hailed with enthusiasm
the accession of Elizabeth, on the 17th of November, 1558. With her
reign commences a new epoch, even in the history of Europe. Who does
not talk of the Elizabethan era, when Protestantism was established in
England, when illustrious poets and philosophers adorned the
literature of the country, when commerce and arts received a great
impulse, when the colonies in North America were settled, and when a
constellation of great statesmen raised England to a pitch of glory
not before attained?

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--See Hume's, and Lingard's, and other standard
     Histories of England; Miss Strickland's Lives of the Queens
     of England; Burnet's History of the Reformation; Life of
     Cranmer; Fox's Book of Martyrs. These works contain all the
     easily-accessible information respecting the reigns of
     Edward and Mary, which is important.



Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII., by Anne Boleyn, was in her
twenty-sixth year when she ascended the throne. She was crowned the
15th of June, 1559, and soon assembled her parliament and selected her
ministers. After establishing her own legitimacy, she set about
settling the affairs of the church, but only restored the Protestant
religion as Cranmer had left it. Indeed, she ever retained a fondness
for ceremonial, and abhorred a reform spirit among the people. She
insisted on her supremacy, as head of the church, and on conformity
with her royal conscience. But she was not severe on the Catholics,
and even the gluttonous and vindictive Bonner was permitted to end his
days in peace.

As soon as the Protestant religion was established, the queen turned
her attention towards Scotland, from which much trouble was expected.

[Sidenote: Mary, Queen of Scots.]

Scotland was then governed by Mary, daughter of James V., and had
succeeded her father while a mere infant, eight days after her birth,
(1542.) In 1558, she married the dauphin, afterwards King of France,
by which marriage she was Queen of France as well as of Scotland.

[Sidenote: John Knox.]

According to every canonical law of the Roman church, the claim of
Mary Stuart to the English throne was preferable to that of her cousin
Elizabeth. Her uncles, the Guises, represented that Anne Boleyn's
marriage had never been lawful, and that Elizabeth was therefore
illegitimate. In an evil hour, she and her husband quartered the arms
of England with their own, and assumed the titles of King and Queen of
Scotland and England. And Elizabeth's indignation was further excited
by the insult which the pope had inflicted, in declaring her birth
illegitimate. She, therefore, resolved to gratify, at once, both her
ambition and her vengeance, encouraged by her ministers, who wished to
advance the Protestant interest in the kingdom. Accordingly,
Elizabeth, with consummate art, undermined the authority of Mary in
Scotland, now distracted by religious as well as civil commotions.
Mary was a Catholic, and had a perfect abhorrence and disgust of the
opinions and customs of the reformers, especially of John Knox, whose
influence in Scotland was almost druidical. The Catholics resolved to
punish with fire and sword, while the Protestants were equally intent
on defending themselves with the sword. And it so happened that some
of the most powerful of the nobility were arrayed on the side of
Protestantism. But the Scotch reformers were animated with a zeal
unknown to Cranmer and his associates. The leaders had been trained at
Geneva, under the guidance of Calvin, and had imbibed his opinions,
and were, therefore, resolved to carry the work of reform after the
model of the Genevan church. Accordingly, those pictures, and statues,
and ornaments, and painted glass, and cathedrals, which Cranmer
spared, were furiously destroyed by the Scotch reformers, who
considered them as parts of an idolatrous worship. The antipathy to
bishops and clerical vestments was equally strong, and a sweeping
reform was carried on under the dictatorship of Knox. Elizabeth had no
more sympathy with this bold, but uncouth, reformer and his movements,
than had Mary herself, and never could forgive him for his book,
written at Geneva, aimed against female government, called the "First
Blast of a Trumpet against the monstrous Regiment of Women." But Knox
cared not for either the English or the Scottish queens, and zealously
and fearlessly prosecuted his work, and gained over to his side the
moral strength of the kingdom. Of course, a Catholic queen resolved to
suppress his doctrines; but nearly the whole Scottish nobility rallied
around his standard, marching with the Bible in one hand, and the
sword in the other. The queen brought in troops from France to support
her insulted and tottering government, which only increased the zeal
of the Protestant party, headed by the Earls of Argyle, Arran, Morton,
and Glencairn, and James Stuart, Prior of St. Andrews, who styled
themselves "Lords of the Congregation." A civil war now raged in
Scotland, between the queen regent, who wished to suppress the
national independence, and extinguish the Protestant religion, and the
Protestants, who comprised a great part of the nation, and who were
resolved on the utter extirpation of Romanism and the limitation of
the regal power. The Lords of the Congregation implored the aid of
England, which Elizabeth was ready to grant, both from political and
religious motives. The Protestant cause was in the ascendant, when the
queen regent died, in 1560. The same year died Francis II., of France;
and Mary, now a widow, resolved to return to her own kingdom. She
landed at Leith, August, 1561, and was received with the grandest
demonstration of joy. For a time, affairs were tolerably tranquil,
Mary having intrusted the great Protestant nobles with power. She was
greatly annoyed, however, by Knox, who did not treat her with the
respect due to a queen, and who called her Jezebel; but the reformer
escaped punishment on account of his great power.

[Sidenote: Marriage of Mary--Darnley.]

In 1565, Mary married her cousin, Lord Darnley, son of the Earl of
Lennox,--a match exceedingly distasteful to Elizabeth, who was ever
jealous of Mary, especially in matrimonial matters, since the Scottish
queen had not renounced her pretensions to the throne of her
grandfather, Henry VII. The character of Elizabeth now appears in its
worst light; and meanness and jealousy took the place of that
magnanimity which her admirers have ascribed to her. She fomented
disturbances in Scotland, and incited the queen's natural brother, the
Prior of St. Andrews, now Earl of Murray, to rebellion, with the
expectation of obtaining the government of the country. He formed a
conspiracy to seize the persons of Mary and her husband. The plot was
discovered, and Murray fled to England; but it was still unremittingly
pursued, till at length it was accomplished.

Darnley, the consort of Mary, was a man of low tastes, profligate
habits, and shallow understanding. Such a man could not long retain
the affections of the most accomplished woman of her age, accustomed
to flattery, and bent on pursuing her own pleasure, at any cost.
Disgust and coldness therefore took place. Darnley, enraged at this
increasing coldness, was taught to believe that he was supplanted in
the queen's affections by an Italian favorite, the musician Rizzio,
whom Mary had made her secretary. He therefore signed a bond, with
certain lords, for the murder of the Italian, who seems to have been a
man of no character. One evening, as the queen was at supper, in her
private apartment, with the countess of Argyle and Rizzio, the Earl of
Morton, with one hundred and sixty men, took possession of the palace
of Holyrood, while Darnley himself showed the way to a band of
ruffians to the royal presence. Rizzio was barbarously murdered in the
presence of the queen, who endeavored to protect him.

Darnley, in thus perpetrating this shocking murder, was but the tool
of some of the great lords, who wished to make him hateful to the
queen, and to the nation, and thus prepare the way for his own
execution. And they succeeded. A plot was contrived for the murder of
Darnley, of which Murray was probably the author. Shortly after, the
house, in which he slept, was blown up by gunpowder, in the middle of
the night.

[Sidenote: Bothwell--Civil War in Scotland.]

The public voice imputed to the Earl of Bothwell, a great favorite of
the queen, the murder of Darnley. Nor did the queen herself escape
suspicion. "But no inquiry or research," says Scott, "has ever been
able to bring us either to that clear opinion upon the guilt of Mary
which is expressed by many authors, or guide us to that triumphant
conclusion in favor of her innocence of all accession, direct or
tacit, to the death of her husband, which others have maintained with
the same obstinacy." But whatever doubt exists as to the queen's
guilt, there is none respecting her ministers--Maitland, Huntley,
Morton, and Argyle. Still they offered a reward of two thousand pounds
for the discovery of the murderers. The public voice accused Bothwell
as the principal: and yet the ministers associated with him, and the
queen, entirely exculpated him. He was brought to a trial, on the
formal accusation of the Earl of Lennox, in the city of Edinburgh,
which he was permitted to obtain possession of. In a place guarded by
his own followers, it was not safe for any witnesses to appear against
him, and he was therefore acquitted, though the whole nation believed
him guilty.

Mary was rash enough to marry, shortly after, the man whom public
opinion pronounced to be the murderer of her husband; and Murray, her
brother, was so ambitious and treacherous, as to favor the marriage,
with the hope that the unpopularity of the act would lead to the
destruction of the queen, and place him at the helm of state. No
sooner was Mary married to Bothwell, than Murray and other lords threw
off the mask, pretended to be terribly indignant, took up arms against
the queen, with the view of making her prisoner, and with the pretence
of delivering her from her husband. Bothwell escaped to Norway, and
the queen surrendered herself, at Carberry Hill, to the insurgent
army, the chiefs of which instantly assumed the reins of government,
and confined the queen in the castle of Lochleven, and treated her
with excessive harshness. Shortly after, (1567,) she resigned her
crown to her infant son, and Murray, the prime mover of so many
disturbances, became regent of the kingdom. Murray was a zealous
Protestant, and had the support of Knox in all his measures, and the
countenance of the English ministry. Abating his intrigue and
ambition, he was a most estimable man, and deserved the affections of
the nation, which he retained until his death. M'Crie, in his Life of
Knox, represents him as a model of Christian virtue and integrity, and
every way worthy of the place he held in the affections of his party.

[Sidenote: Captivity of Queen Mary.]

The unfortunate queen suffered great unkindness in her lonely
confinement, and Knox, with the more zealous of his party, clamored
for her death, as an adulteress and a murderer. She succeeded in
escaping from her prison, raised an army, marched against the regent,
was defeated at the battle of Langside, fled to England, and became,
May, 1568, the prisoner-guest of her envious rival. Elizabeth obtained
the object of her desires. But the captivity of Mary, confined in
Tutbury Castle, against all the laws of hospitality and justice, gave
rise to incessant disturbances, both in England and Scotland, until
her execution, in 1587. And these form no inconsiderable part of the
history of England for seventeen years. Scotland was the scene of
anarchy, growing out of the contentions and jealousies of rival
chieftains, who stooped to every crime that appeared to facilitate
their objects. In 1570, the regent Murray was assassinated. He was
succeeded by his enemy, the Earl of Lennox, who, in his turn, was shot
by an assassin. The Earl of Mar succeeded him, but lived only a year.
Morton became regent, the reward of his many crimes but retribution at
last overtook him, being executed when James assumed the sovereignty.

[Sidenote: Execution of Mary.]

Meanwhile, the unfortunate Mary pined in hopeless captivity. It was
natural for her to seek release, and also for her friends to help her.
Among her friends was the Duke of Norfolk, the first nobleman in
England, and a zealous Catholic. He aspired to her hand; but Elizabeth
chose to consider his courtship as a treasonable act, and Norfolk was
arrested. On being afterwards released, he plotted for the liberation
of Mary, and his intrigues brought him to the block. The unfortunate
captive, wearied and impatient, naturally sought the assistance of
foreign powers. She had her agents in Rome, France, Spain, and the Low
Countries. The Catholics in England espoused her cause, and a
conspiracy was formed to deliver her, assassinate Elizabeth, and
restore the Catholic religion. From the fact that Mary was privy to
that part of it which concerned her own deliverance, she was brought
to trial as a criminal, found guilty by a court incompetent to sit on
her case, and executed without remorse, 8th February, 1587.

Few persons have excited more commiseration than this unfortunate
queen, both on account of her exalted rank, and her splendid
intellectual accomplishments. Whatever obloquy she merited for her
acts as queen of Scotland, no one can blame her for meditating escape
from the power of her zealous but more fortunate rival; and her
execution is the greatest blot in the character of the queen of
England, at this time in the zenith of her glory.

Next to the troubles with Scotland growing out of the interference of
Elizabeth, the great political events of the reign were the long and
protracted war with Spain, and the Irish rebellion. Both of these
events were important.

Spain was at this time governed by Philip II., son of the emperor
Charles, one of the most bigoted Catholics of the age, and allied with
Catharine de Medicis of France for the entire suppression of
Protestantism. She incited her son Charles IX. to the massacre of St.
Bartholomew, and Philip established the inquisition in Flanders. This
measure provoked an insurrection, to suppress which the Duke of Alva,
one of the most celebrated of the generals of Charles V., was sent
into the Netherlands with a large army, and almost unlimited powers.
The cruelties of Alva were unparalleled. In six years, eighteen
thousand persons perished by the hands of the executioner, and Alva
counted on the entire suppression of Protestantism by the mere force
of armies. He could count the physical resources of the people, but he
could not estimate the degree of their resistance when animated by the
spirit of liberty or religion. Providence, too, takes care of those
who strive to take care of themselves. A great leader appeared among
the suffering Hollanders, almost driven to despair--the celebrated
William of Nassau, Prince of Orange. He appeared as the champion of
the oppressed and insulted people; they rallied around his standard,
fought with desperate bravery, opened the dikes upon their cultivated
fields, expelled their invaders, and laid the foundation of their
liberties. But they could not have withstood the gigantic power of the
Spanish monarchy, then in the fulness of its strength, and the most
powerful in Europe, had it not been for aid rendered by Elizabeth. She
compassionated their sufferings, and had respect for their cause. She
entered into an alliance, defensive and offensive, and the Netherlands
became the great theatre of war, even after they had thrown off the
Spanish yoke. Although the United Provinces in the end obtained their
liberty, they suffered incredible hardships, and lost some of the
finest of their cities, Antwerp among the rest, long the rival of
Amsterdam, and the scene of Rubens's labors.

[Sidenote: Military Preparations of Philip II.]

The assistance which Elizabeth rendered to the Hollanders, of course,
provoked the resentment of Philip II., and this was increased by the
legalized piracies of Sir Francis Drake, in the West Indies, and on
the coasts of South America. This commander, in time of peace,
insisted on a right to visit those ports which the Spaniards had
closed, which, by the law of nations, is piracy. Philip, according to
all political maxims, was forced to declare war with England, and he
made immense preparations to subdue it. But the preparations of
Elizabeth to resist the powerful monarch were also great, and Drake
performed brilliant exploits on the sea, among other things,
destroying one hundred ships in the Bay of Cadiz, and taking immense
spoil. The preparations of the Spanish monarch were made on such a
gigantic scale, that Elizabeth summoned a great council of war to meet
the emergency, at which the all-accomplished Sir Walter Raleigh took a
leading part. His advice was to meet the Spaniards on the sea.
Although the royal navy consisted, at this time, of only thirty-six
sail, such vigorous measures were prosecuted, that one hundred and
ninety-one ships were collected, manned by seventeen thousand four
hundred seamen. The merchants of London granted thirty ships and ten
thousand men, and all England was aroused to meet the expected danger.
Never was patriotism more signally evinced, never were more decisive
proofs given of the popularity of a sovereign. Indeed, Elizabeth was
always popular with the nation; and with all her ceremony, and state,
and rudeness to the commons, and with all their apparent servility,
she never violated the laws, or irritated the people by oppressive
exactions. Many acts of the Tudor princes seem to indicate the reign
of despotism in England, but this despotism was never grievous, and
had all the benignity of a paternal government. Capricious and
arbitrary as Elizabeth was, in regard to some unfortunate individuals
who provoked her hatred or her jealousy, still she ever sedulously
guarded the interests of the nation, and listened to the counsel of
patriotic and able ministers. When England was threatened with a
Spanish invasion, there was not a corner of the land which did not
rise to protect a beloved sovereign; nor was there a single spot,
where a landing might be effected, around which an army of twenty
thousand could not be rallied in forty-eight hours.

[Sidenote: Spanish Armada.]

But Philip, nevertheless, expected the complete conquest of England;
and, as his "Invincible Armada" of one hundred and thirty ships, left
the mouth of the Tagus, commanded by Medina Sidonia, and manned by the
noblest troops of Spain, he fancied his hour of triumph was at hand.
But his hopes proved dreams, like most of the ambitious designs of
men. The armada met with nothing but misfortunes, both from battle and
from storms. Only fifty ships returned to Spain. An immense booty was
divided among the English sailors, and Elizabeth sent, in her turn, a
large fleet to Spain, the following year, (1589,) under the command of
Drake, which, after burning a few towns, returned ingloriously to
England, with a loss of ten thousand men. The war was continued with
various success till 1598, when a peace was negotiated. The same year,
died Philip II., and Lord Burleigh, who, for forty years, directed the
councils of Elizabeth, and to whose voice she ever listened, even when
opposed by such favorites as Leicester and Essex. Burleigh was not a
great genius, but was a man admirably adapted to his station and his
times,--was cool, sagacious, politic, and pacific, skilful in the
details of business competent to advise, but not aspiring to command.
He was splendidly rewarded for his services, and left behind him three
hundred distinct landed estates.

[Sidenote: Irish Rebellion.]

Meanwhile the attention of the queen was directed to the affairs of
Ireland, which had been conquered by Henry II. in the year 1170, but
over which only an imperfect sovereignty had been exercised. The Irish
princes and nobles, divided among themselves, paid the exterior marks
of obedience, but kept the country in a constant state of

The impolitic and romantic projects of the English princes for
subduing France, prevented a due attention to Ireland, ever miserably
governed. Elizabeth was the first of the English sovereigns to
perceive the political importance of this island, and the necessity
for the establishment of law and order. Besides furnishing governors
of great capacity, she founded the university of Dublin, and attempted
to civilize the half-barbarous people. Unfortunately, she also sought
to make them Protestants, against their will, which laid the
foundation of many subsequent troubles, not yet removed. A spirit of
discontent pervaded the country, and the people were ready for
rebellion. Hugh O'Neale, the head of a powerful clan, and who had been
raised to the dignity of Earl of Tyrone, yet attached to the barbarous
license in which he had been early trained, fomented the popular
discontents, and excited a dangerous rebellion. Hostilities, of the
most sanguinary character, commenced. The queen sent over her
favorite, the Earl of Essex, with an army of twenty thousand men, to
crush the rebellion. He was a brave commander, but was totally
unacquainted with the country and the people he was expected to
subdue, and was, consequently, unsuccessful. But his successor, Lord
Mountjoy, succeeded in restoring the queen's authority, though at the
cost of four millions and a half, an immense sum in that age, while
poor Ireland was devastated with fire and sword, and suffered every
aggravation of accumulated calamities.

[Sidenote: The Earl of Essex.]

Meanwhile, Essex, who had returned to England against the queen's
orders, was treated with coldness, deprived of his employments, and
sentenced to be confined. This was more than the haughty favorite
could bear, accustomed as he had been to royal favor. At first, he
acquiesced in his punishment, with every mark of penitence, and
Elizabeth was beginning to relax in her severity for she never
intended to ruin him; but he soon gave vent to his violent temper,
indulged in great liberties of speech, and threw off all appearance of
duty and respect. He even engaged in treasonable designs, encouraged
Roman Catholics at his house, and corresponded with James VI. of
Scotland about his succession. His proceedings were discovered, and he
was summoned before the privy council. Instead of obedience, he armed
himself and his followers, and, in conjunction with some discontented
nobles, and about three hundred gentlemen, attempted to excite an
insurrection in London, where he was very popular with the citizens.
He was captured and committed to the Tower, with the Earl of
Southampton. These rash but brave noblemen were tried by their peers,
and condemned as guilty of high treason. In this trial, the celebrated
Bacon appeared against his old patron, and likened him to the Duke of
Guise. The great lawyer Coke, who was attorney-general, compared him
to Catiline.

Essex disdained to sue the queen for a pardon, and was privately
beheaded in the Tower. He merited his fate, if the offence of which he
was guilty deserved such a punishment. It is impossible not to be
interested in the fate of a man so brave, high-spirited, and generous,
the idol of the people, and the victor in so many enterprises. Some
historians maintain that Elizabeth relented, and would have saved her
favorite, had he only implored her clemency; but this statement is
denied by others; nor have we any evidence to believe that Essex,
caught with arms against the sovereign who had honored him, could have
averted his fate.

Elizabeth may have wept for the death of the nobleman she had loved.
It is certain that, after his death, she never regained her spirits,
and that a deep melancholy was visible in her countenance. All her
actions showed a deeply-settled inward grief, and that she longed for
death, having tasted the unsubstantial nature of human greatness. She
survived the execution of Essex two years, but lived long enough to
see the neglect into which she was every day falling, and to feel
that, in spite of all her glory and power, she was not exempted from
drinking the cup of bitterness.

[Sidenote: Character of Elizabeth.]

Whatever unamiable qualities she evinced as a woman, in spite of her
vanity, and jealousy, and imperious temper, her reign was one of the
most glorious in the annals of her country. The policy of Burleigh was
the policy of Sir Robert Walpole--that of peace, and a desire to
increase the resources of the kingdom. Her taxes were never
oppressive, and were raised without murmur; the people were loyal and
contented; the Protestant religion was established on a firm
foundation; and a constellation of great men shed around her throne
the bright rays of immortal genius.

The most unhappy peculiarity of her reign was the persecution of the
Non-conformists, which, if not sanguinary, was irritating and severe.
For some time after the accession of Elizabeth, the Puritans were
permitted to indulge in their peculiarities, without being excluded
from the established church; but when Elizabeth felt herself secure,
then they were obliged to conform, or suffered imprisonment, fines,
and other punishments. The original difficulty was their repugnance to
the surplice, and to some few forms of worship, which gradually
extended to an opposition to the order of bishops; to the temporal
dignities of the church; to the various titles of the hierarchy; to
the jurisdiction of the spiritual courts; to the promiscuous access of
all persons to the communion table; to the liturgy; to the observance
of holydays; to the cathedral worship; to the use of organs; to the
presentation of living by patrons; and finally, to some of the
doctrines of the established church. The separation of the Puritans
from the Episcopal church, took place in 1566; and, from that time to
the death of Elizabeth, they enjoyed no peace, although they sought
redress in the most respectful manner, and raised no opposition to the
royal authority. Thousands were ejected from their livings, and
otherwise punished, for not conforming to the royal conscience. But
persecution and penal laws fanned a fanatical spirit, which, in the
reign of Charles, burst out into a destructive flame, and spread
devastation and ruin through all parts of the kingdom.

If the queen and her ministers did not understand the principles of
religious toleration, they pursued a much more enlightened policy in
regard to all financial and political subjects, than during any former
reign. The commercial importance of England received a new impulse.
The reign of Henry VIII. was a reign of spoliation. The king was
enriched beyond all former precedent, but his riches did not keep pace
with his spendthrift habits. The value of the abbey lands which Henry
seized amounted, a century after his death, to six million pounds. The
lands of the abbey of St. Alban's alone rented for two hundred
thousand pounds. The king debased the coin, confiscated chapels and
colleges, as well as monasteries, and raised money by embargoes,
monopolies, and compulsory loans.

[Sidenote: Improvements Made in the Reign of Elizabeth.]

But Elizabeth, instead of contracting debts, paid off the old ones,
restored the coin to its purity, and was content with an annual
revenue of five hundred thousand pounds, even at a time when the
rebellion in Ireland cost her four hundred thousand pounds. Her
frugality equalled the rapacity of her father, and she was extravagant
only in dress, and on great occasions of public rejoicings. But her
economy was a small matter compared with the wise laws which were
passed respecting the trade of the country, by which commercial
industry began to characterize the people. Improvements in navigation
followed, and also maritime discoveries and colonial settlements. Sir
Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, and the East India Company
was formed. Under the auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh, Virginia was
discovered and colonized. Unfortunately, also, the African slave trade
commenced--a traffic which has been productive of more human misery,
and led to more disastrous political evils, than can be traced to any
other event in the history of modern times.

During this reign, the houses of the people became more comfortable;
chimneys began to be used; pewter dishes took the place of wooden
trenchers, and wheat was substituted for rye and barley; linen and
woollen cloth was manufactured; salads, cabbages, gooseberries,
apricots, pippins, currants, cherries, plums, carnations, and the
damask rose were cultivated, for the first time. But the great glory
of this reign was the revival of literature and science. Raleigh, "the
soldier, the sailor, the scholar, the philosopher, the poet, the
orator, the historian, the courtier," then, adorned the court, and the
prince of poets, the immortal Shakspeare, then wrote those plays,
which, for moral wisdom and knowledge of the human soul, appear to us
almost to be dictated by the voice of inspiration. The prince of
philosophers too, the great miner and sapper of the false systems of
the middle ages, Francis Bacon, then commenced his career, and Spenser
dedicated to Elizabeth his "Fairy Queen," one of the most truly
poetical compositions that genius ever produced. The age produced also
great divines; but these did not occupy so prominent a place in the
nation's eye as during the succeeding reigns.

[Sidenote: Reflections.]

While the virgin queen was exercising so benign an influence on the
English nation, great events, though not disconnected with English
politics, were taking place on the continent. The most remarkable of
these was the persecution of the Huguenots. The rise and fortunes of
this sect, during the reigns of Henry II., Francis II., Charles IX.,
Henry III., and Henry IV., now demand our attention. If a newspaper
had, in that age, been conducted upon the principles it now is, the
sufferings of the Huguenots would always be noticed. It is our
province to describe just what a modern newspaper would have alluded
to, had it been printed three hundred years ago. It would not have
been filled with genealogies of kings, but with descriptions of great
popular movements. And this is history.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--For the history of this reign, see Hume,
     Lingard, and Hallam; Miss Strickland's Queens of England;
     Life of Mary, Queen of Scots; M'Crie's Life of Knox;
     Robertson's History of Scotland; Macaulay's Essay on Nares's
     Life of Burleigh; Life of Sir Walter Raleigh; Neale's
     History of the Puritans. Kenilworth may also be profitably



The history of France, from the death of Francis I. to the accession
of Henry IV. is virtually the history of religious contentions and
persecutions, and of those civil wars which grew out of them. The
Huguenotic contest, then, is a great historical subject, and will be
presented in connection with the history of France, until the death of
Henry IV., the greatest of the French monarchs, and long the
illustrious head of the Protestant party.

The reform doctrines first began to spread in France during the reign
of Francis I. As early as 1523, he became a persecutor, and burned
many at the stake, among whom the descendants of the Waldenses were
the most numerous. In 1540, sentence was pronounced against them by
the parliament of Aix. Their doctrines were the same in substance as
those of the Swiss reformers.

While this persecution was raging, John Calvin fled from France to
Ferrara, from which city he proceeded to Geneva. This was in the year
1536, when his theological career commenced by the publication of his
Institutes, which were dedicated to Francis I., one of the most
masterly theological works ever written, although compended from the
writings of Augustine. The Institutes of Calvin, the great text-book
of the Swiss and French reformers, were distasteful to the French
king, and he gave fresh order for the persecution of the Protestants.
Notwithstanding the hostility of Francis, the new doctrines spread,
and were embraced by some of the most distinguished of the French
nobility. The violence of persecution was not much arrested during the
reign of Henry II., and, through the influence of the Cardinal of
Lorraine, the inquisition was established in the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Catharine de Medicis.]

The wife of Henry II. was the celebrated Catharine de Medicis; and she
was bitterly opposed to the reform doctrines, and incited her husband
to the most cruel atrocities. Francis II. continued the persecution,
and his mother, Catharine, became virtually the ruler of the nation.

The power of the queen mother was much increased when Francis II.
died, and when his brother, Charles IX., a boy of nine years of age,
succeeded to the French crown. She exercised her power by the most
unsparing religious persecution recorded in the history of modern
Europe. There had been some hope that Protestantism would be
established in France; but it did not succeed, owing to the violence
of the persecution. It made, however, a desperate struggle before it
was overcome.

At the head of the Catholic party were the queen regent, the Cardinal
of Lorraine, the Duke of Guise, his brother, and the Constable
Montmorency. They had the support of the priesthood, of the Spaniards,
and a great majority of the nation.

The Protestants were headed by the King of Navarre, father of
Henry IV., the Prince of Condé, his brother, and Admiral Coligny; and
they had the sympathy of the university, the parliaments, and the
Protestants of Germany and England.

[Sidenote: Civil War in France.]

Between these parties a struggle lasted for forty years, with various
success. Persecution provoked resistance, but resistance did not lead
to liberty. Civil war in France did not secure the object sought.
Still the Protestants had hope, and, as they could always assemble a
large army, they maintained their ground. Their conduct was not marked
by the religious earnestness which characterized the Puritans, or by
the same strength of religious principle. Moreover, political motives
were mingled with religious. The contest was a struggle for the
ascendency of rival chiefs, as well as for the establishment of
reformed doctrines. The Bourbons hated the Guises, and the Guises
resolved to destroy the Bourbons. In the course of their rivalry and
warfare, the Duke of Guise was assassinated, and the King of Navarre,
as well as the Prince of Condé, were killed.

Charles IX. was fourteen years of age when the young king of
Navarre,--at that time sixteen years of age,--and his cousin, the
Prince of Condé, became the acknowledged heads of the Protestant
party. Their education was learned in the camp and the field of

Charles IX., under the influence of his hateful mother, finding that
civil war only destroyed the resources of the country, without
weakening the Protestants, made peace, but formed a plan for their
extermination by treachery. In order to cover his designs he gave his
sister, Margaret de Valois, in marriage to the King of Navarre, first
prince of the blood, then nineteen years of age. Admiral Coligny was
invited to Paris, and treated with distinguished courtesy.

[Sidenote: Massacre of St. Bartholomew.]

It was during the festivities which succeeded the marriage of the King
of Navarre that Coligny was murdered, and the signal for the horrid
slaughter of St. Bartholomew was given. At midnight, August 23, 1572,
the great bell at the Hotel de Ville began to toll; torches were
placed in the windows, chains were drawn across the streets, and armed
bodies collected around the hotels. The doors of the houses were
broken open, and neither age, condition, nor sex was spared, of such
as were not distinguished by a white cross in the hat. The massacre at
Paris was followed by one equally brutal in the provinces. Seventy
thousand people were slain in cold blood. The King of Navarre and the
Prince of Condé only escaped in consequence of their relationship with
the king, and by renouncing the Protestant religion.

Most of the European courts expressed their detestation of this
foulest crime in the history of religious bigotry; but the pope went
in grand procession to his cathedral, and ordered a _Te Deum_ to be
sung in commemoration of an event which steeped his cause in infamy to
the end of time.

The Protestants, though nearly exterminated, again rallied, and the
King of Navarre and his cousin the Prince of Condé escaped, renounced
the religion which had been forced on them by fear of death, and
prosecuted a bloody civil war, with the firm resolution of never
abandoning it until religious liberty was guarantied.

Meanwhile, Charles IX. died, as it was supposed, by poison. His last
hours were wretched, and his remorse for the massacre of St.
Bartholomew filled his soul with agony. He beheld spectres, and
dreamed horrid dreams; his imagination constantly saw heaps of livid
bodies, and his ears were assailed with imaginary groans. He became
melancholy and ferocious, while his kingdom became the prey of
factions and insurrections. But he was a timid and irresolute king,
and was but the tool of his infamous mother, the grand patroness of
assassins, against whom, on his death bed, he cautioned the king of

[Sidenote: Henry III.--Henry IV.]

He was succeeded by his brother, the King of Poland, under the title
of Henry III. The persecutions of the Huguenots were renewed, and the
old scenes of treachery, assassination, and war were acted over again.
The cause of religion was lost sight of in the labyrinth of
contentions, jealousies, and plots. Intrigues and factions were
endless. Nearly all the leaders, on both sides, perished by the sword
or the dagger. The Prince of Condé, the Duke of Guise, and his
brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, were assassinated. Shortly after,
died the chief mover of all the troubles, Catharine de Medicis, a
woman of talents and persuasive eloquence, but of most unprincipled
ambition, perfidious, cruel, and dissolute. She encouraged the
licentiousness of the court, and even the worst vices of her sons,
that she might make them subservient to her designs. All her passions
were subordinate to her calculations of policy, and every womanly
virtue was suppressed by the desire of wielding a government which she

Henry III. soon followed her to the grave, being, in turn,
assassinated by a religious fanatic. His death (1589) secured the
throne to the king of Navarre, who took the title of Henry IV.

Henry IV., the first of the Bourbon line, was descended from Robert,
the sixth son of St. Louis, who had married the daughter and heiress
of John of Burgundy and Agnes of Bourbon. He was thirty-six years of
age when he became king, and had passed through great experiences and
many sorrows. Thus far he had contended for Protestant opinions, and
was the acknowledged leader of the Protestant party in France. But a
life of contention and bloodshed, and the new career opened to him as
king of France, cooled his religious ardor, and he did not hesitate to
accept the condition which the French nobles imposed, before they
would take the oaths of allegiance. This was, that he should abjure
Protestantism. "My kingdom," said he, "is well worth a mass." It will
be ever laid to his reproach, by the Protestants, that he renounced
his religion for worldly elevation. Nor is it easy to exculpate him on
the highest principles of moral integrity. But there were many
palliations for his conduct, which it is not now easy to appreciate.
It is well known that the illustrious Sully, his prime minister, and,
through life, a zealous Protestant, approved of his course. It was
certainly clear that, without becoming a Catholic, he never could
peaceably enjoy his crown, and France would be rent, for another
generation, by those civil wars which none lamented more than Henry
himself. Besides, four fifths of the population were Catholics, and
the Protestants could not reasonably expect to gain the ascendency.
All they could expect was religious toleration, and this Henry was
willing to grant. It should also be considered that the king, though
he professed the reform doctrines, was never what may be called a
religious man, being devoted to pleasure, and to schemes of ambition.
It is true he understood and consulted the interests of his kingdom,
and strove to make his subjects happy. Herein consists his excellence.
As a magnanimous, liberal-minded, and enterprising man, he surpassed
all the French kings. But it is ridiculous to call him a religious
man, or even strongly fixed in his religious opinions. "Do you," said
the king to a great Protestant divine, "believe that a man may be
saved by the Catholic religion?" "Undoubtedly," replied the clergyman,
"if his life and heart be holy." "Then," said the king, "prudence
dictates that I embrace the Catholic religion, and not yours; for, in
that case, according to both Catholics and Protestants, I may be
saved; but, if I embrace your religion, I shall not be saved,
according to the Catholics."

But the king's conversion to Catholicism did not immediately result in
the tranquillity of the distracted country. The Catholics would not
believe in his sincerity, and many battles had to be fought before he
was in peaceable enjoyment of his throne. But there is nothing so
hateful as civil war, especially to the inhabitants of great cities;
and Paris, at last, and the chief places in the kingdom, acknowledged
his sway. The king of Spain, the great Catholic prelates, and the
pope, finally perceived how hopeless was the struggle against a man of
great military experience, with a devoted army and an enthusiastic
capital on his side.

The peace of Verviens, in 1598, left the king without foreign or
domestic enemies. From that period to his death, his life was devoted
to the welfare of his country.

[Sidenote: Edict of Nantes.]

His first act was the celebrated Edict of Nantes, by which the
Huguenots had quiet and undisturbed residence, the free exercise of
their religion, and public worship, except in the court, the army, and
within five leagues of Paris. They were eligible to all offices, civil
and military; and all public prosecutions, on account of religion,
were dropped. This edict also promulgated a general amnesty for
political offences, and restored property and titles, as before the
war; but the Protestants were prohibited from printing controversial
books, and were compelled to pay tithes to the established clergy.

Henry IV., considering the obstacles with which he had to contend, was
the greatest general of the age; but it is his efforts in civilization
which entitle him to his epithet of _Great_.

[Sidenote: Improvements during the Reign of Henry IV.]

The first thing which demanded his attention, as a civil ruler, was
the settlement of the finances--ever the leading cause of troubles
with the French government. These were intrusted to the care of Rosny,
afterward Duke of Sully, the most able and upright of all French
financiers--a man of remarkable probity and elevation of sentiment. He
ever continued to be the minister and the confidant of the king, and
maintained his position without subserviency or flattery, almost the
only man on the records of history who could tell, with impunity,
wholesome truths to an absolute monarch. So wise were his financial
arrangements, that a debt of three hundred million of livres was paid
off in eight years. In five years, the taxes were reduced one half,
the crown lands redeemed, the arsenals stored, the fortifications
rebuilt, churches erected, canals dug, and improvements made in every
part of the kingdom. On the death of the king, he had in his treasury
nearly fifty millions of livres. Under the direction of this able
minister, the laws were enforced, robbery and vagrancy were nearly
stopped, and agriculture received a great impulse. But economy was the
order of the day. The king himself set an illustrious example, and
even dressed in gray cloth, with a doublet of taffeta, without
embroidery, dispensed with all superfluity at his table, and dismissed
all useless servants.

The management and economy of the king enabled him to make great
improvements, besides settling the deranged finances of the kingdom.
He built innumerable churches, bridges, convents, hospitals,
fortresses, and ships. Some of the finest palaces which adorn Paris
were erected by him. He was also the patron of learning, the benefits
of which he appreciated. He himself was well acquainted with the
writings of the ancients. He was particularly fond of the society of
the learned, with whom he conversed with freedom and affability. He
increased the libraries, opened public schools, and invited
distinguished foreigners to Paris, and rewarded them with stipends.
Lipsius, Scaliger, and De Thou, were the ornaments of his court.

And his tender regard to the happiness and welfare of his subjects was
as marked as his generous appreciation of literature and science. It
was his ambition to be the father of his people; and his memorable
saying, "Yes, I will so manage matters that the poorest peasant in my
kingdom may eat meat each day in the week, and, moreover, be enabled
to put a fowl in the pot on a Sunday," has alone embalmed his memory
in the affections of the French nation, who, of all their monarchs,
are most partial to Henry IV.

[Sidenote: Peace Scheme of Henry IV.]

But this excellent king was also a philanthropist, and cherished the
most enlightened views as to those subjects on which rests the
happiness of nations. Though a warrior, the preservation of a lasting
peace was the great idea of his life. He was even visionary in his
projects to do good; for he imagined it was possible to convince
monarchs that they ought to prefer purity, peace, and benevolence, to
ambition and war. Hence, he proposed to establish a Congress of
Nations, chosen from the various states of Europe, to whom all
international difficulties should be referred, with power to settle
them--a very desirable object, the most so conceivable; for war is the
greatest of all national calamities and crimes. The scheme of the
enlightened Henry, however, did not attract much attention; and, even
had it been encouraged, would have been set aside in the next
generation. What would such men as Frederic the Great, or Marlborough,
or Louis XIV., or Napoleon have cared for such an object? But Henry,
in his scheme, also had in view the regulation of such forces as the
European monarchs should sustain, and this arose from his desire to
preserve the "Balance of Power"--the great object of European
politicians in these latter times.

[Sidenote: Death of Henry IV.]

But Henry was not permitted, by Providence, to prosecute his
benevolent designs. He was assassinated by a man whom he had never
injured--by the most unscrupulous of all misguided men--a religious
bigot. The Jesuit Ravaillac, in a mood, as it is to be hoped,
bordering on madness, perpetrated the foul deed. But Henry only
suffered the fate of nearly all the distinguished actors in those
civil and religious contentions which desolated France for forty
years. He died in 1610, at the age of fifty-seven, having reigned
twenty-one years, nine of which were spent in uninterrupted warfare.

By his death the kingdom was thrown into deep and undissembled
mourning. Many fell speechless in the streets when the intelligence of
his assassination was known; others died from excess of grief. All
felt that they had lost more than a father, and nothing was
anticipated but storms and commotions.

He left no children by his wife, Margaret de Valois, who proved
inconstant, and from whom he was separated. By his second wife, Mary
de Medicis, he had three children, the oldest of whom was a child when
he ascended the throne, by the title of Louis XIII. His daughter,
Henrietta, married Charles I. of England.

Though great advances were made in France during this reign, it was
still far from that state of civilization which it attained a century
afterwards. It contained about fifteen million of inhabitants, and
Paris about one hundred and fifty thousand. The nobles were numerous
and powerful, and engrossed the wealth of the nation. The people were
not exactly slaves, but were reduced to great dependence, were
uneducated, degraded, and enjoyed but few political or social
privileges. They were oppressed by the government, by the nobles, and
by the clergy.

The highest official dignitary was the constable, the second the
keeper of the seals, the third the chamberlain, then the six or eight
marshals, then the secretary of state, then gentlemen of the
household, and military commanders. The king was nearly absolute. The
parliament was a judicial tribunal, which did not enact laws, but
which registered the edicts of the king.

Commerce and manufactures were extremely limited, and far from
flourishing; and the arts were in an infant state. Architecture, the
only art in which half-civilized nations have excelled, was the most
advanced, and was displayed in the churches and royal palaces. Paris
was crowded with uncomfortable houses, and the narrow streets were
favorable to tumult as well as pestilence. Tapestry was the most
common and the most expensive of the arts, and the hangings, in a
single room, often reached a sum which would be equal, in these times,
to one hundred thousand dollars. The floors of the palaces were spread
with Turkey carpets. Chairs were used only in kings' palaces, and
carriages were but just introduced, and were clumsy and awkward. Mules
were chiefly used in travelling, the horses being reserved for war.
Dress, especially of females, was gorgeous and extravagant; false
hair, masks, trailed petticoats, and cork heels ten inches high, were
some of the peculiarities. The French then, as now, were fond of the
pleasures of the table, and the hour for dinner was eleven o'clock.
Morals were extremely low, and gaming was a universal passion, in
which Henry IV. himself extravagantly indulged. The advice of
Catharine de Medicis to her son Charles IX. showed her knowledge of
the French character, even as it exists now: "Twice a week give public
assemblies, for the specific secret of the French government is, to
keep the people always cheerful; for they are so restless you must
occupy them, during peace, either with business or amusement, or else
they will involve you in trouble."

[Sidenote: France at the Death of Henry IV.]

Such was France, at the death of Henry IV., 1610, one of the largest
and most powerful of the European kingdoms, though far from the
greatness it was destined afterwards to attain.

A more powerful monarchy, at this period, was Spain. As this kingdom
was then in the zenith of its power and glory, we will take a brief
survey of it during the reign of Philip II., the successor of
Charles V., a person to whom we have often referred. With his reign
are closely connected the struggles of the Hollanders to secure their
civil and religious independence. The Low Countries were provinces of
Spain, and therefore to be considered in connection with Spanish

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--For a knowledge of France during the reign of
     Henry IV., see James's History of Henry IV.; James's Life of
     Condé; History of the Huguenots. Rankin's and Crowe's
     Histories of France are the best in English, but far
     inferior to Sismondi's, Millot's, and Lacretelle's. Sully's
     Memoirs throw considerable light on this period, and Dumas's
     Margaret de Valois may be read with profit.



[Sidenote: Bigotry of Philip II.]

Spain cannot be said to have been a powerful state until the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella; when the crowns of Castile and Arragon were
united, and when the discoveries of Columbus added a new world to
their extensive territories. Nor, during the reign of Ferdinand and
Isabella, was the power of the crown as absolute as during the sway of
the Austrian princes. The nobles were animated by a bold and free
spirit, and the clergy dared to resist the encroachments of royalty,
and even the usurpations of Rome. Charles V. succeeded in suppressing
the power of the nobles, and all insurrections of the people, and laid
the foundation for the power of his gloomy son, Philip II. With Philip
commenced the grandeur of the Spanish monarchy. By him, also, were
sown the seeds of its subsequent decay. Under him, the inquisition was
disgraced by ten thousand enormities, Holland was overrun by the Duke
of Alva, and America conquered by Cortes and Pizarro. It was he who
built the gorgeous palaces of Spain, and who, with his Invincible
Armada, meditated the conquest of England. The wealth of the Indies
flowed into the royal treasury, and also enriched all orders and
classes. Silver and gold became as plenty at Madrid as in old times at
Jerusalem under the reign of Solomon. But Philip was a different
prince from Solomon. His talents and attainments were respectable, but
he had a jealous and selfish disposition, and exerted all the energies
of his mind, and all the resources of his kingdom, to crush the
Protestant religion and the liberties of Europe.

Among the first acts of his reign was the effort to extinguish
Protestantism in the Netherlands, an assemblage of seigniories, under
various titles, subject to his authority. The opinions of Luther and
Calvin made great progress in this country, and Philip, in order to
repress them, created new bishops, and established the Inquisition.
The people protested, and these protests were considered as

[Sidenote: Revolt of the Netherlands.]

At the head of the nobility was William, the Prince of Orange, on whom
Philip had conferred the government of Holland, Zealand, Friesland,
and Utrecht, provinces of the Netherlands. He was a haughty but
resolute and courageous character, and had adopted the opinions of
Calvin, for which he lost the confidence of Philip. In the prospect of
destruction, he embraced the resolution of delivering his country from
the yoke of a merciless and bigoted master. Having reduced the most
important garrisons of Holland and Zealand, he was proclaimed
stadtholder, and openly threw off his allegiance to Spain.
Hostilities, of course, commenced. Alva, the general of Philip, took
the old city of Haerlem, and put fifteen hundred to the sword, among
whom were all the magistrates, and all the Protestant clergy.

Don John, Archduke of Austria, and the brother of Philip, succeeded
the Duke of Alva, during whose administration the seven United
Provinces formed themselves into a confederation, and chose the Prince
of Orange to be the general of their armies, admiral of their fleets,
and chief magistrate, by the title of _stadtholder_. But William was
soon after assassinated by a wretch who had been bribed by the
exasperated Philip, and Maurice, his son, received his title,
dignities, and power. His military talents, as the antagonist of the
Duke of Parma, lieutenant to Philip, in the Netherlands, secured him a
high place in the estimation of warriors. To protect this prince and
the infant republic of Holland, Queen Elizabeth sent four thousand men
under the Earl of Leicester, her favorite; and, with this assistance,
the Hollanders maintained their ground against the most powerful
monarch in Europe, as has been already mentioned in the chapter on

After the loss of the Netherlands, the next great event of his reign
was the acquisition of Portugal, to which he laid claim on the death
of Don Henry, in 1581. There were several other claimants, but Philip,
with an army of twenty thousand, was stronger than any of the others.
He gained a decisive victory over Don Antonio, uncle to the last
monarch, and was crowned at Lisbon without opposition.

[Sidenote: Revolt of the Moriscoes.]

The revolt of the Moriscoes occupies a prominent place in the annals
of this reign. They were Christianized Moors, but, at heart,
Mohammedans. A decree had been published that their children should
frequent the Christian church, that the Arabic should no longer be
used in writing, that both men and women should wear the Spanish
costume, that they no longer should receive Mohammedan names, or marry
without permission. The Moriscoes contended that no particular dress
involved religious opinions, that the women used the veil according to
their notions of modesty, that the use of their own language was no
sin, and that baths were used, not from religious motives, but for the
sake of cleanliness. These expostulations were, however, without
effect. Nothing could move the bigoted king. So revolt followed
cruelty and oppression. Great excesses were committed by both parties,
and most horrible barbarities were exhibited. The atrocious nature of
civil war is ever the same, and presents nearly the same undeviating
picture of misery and crime. But in this war there was something
fiendish. A clergyman was roasted over a brazier, and the women,
wearied with his protracted death, despatched him with their needles
and knives. The rebels ridiculed the sacrifice of the mass by
slaughtering a pig on the high altar of a church. These insults were
retaliated with that cruelty which Spanish bigotry and malice know so
well how to inflict. Thousands of defenceless women and children were
murdered in violation of the most solemn treaties. The whole Moorish
population was finally exterminated, and Granada, with its beautiful
mountains and fertile valleys, was made a desert. No less than six
hundred thousand were driven to Africa--an act of great impolicy,
since the Moriscoes were the most ingenious and industrious part of
the population; and their exile contributed to undermine that national
prosperity in which, at that day, every Spaniard gloried. But
destruction ever succeeds pride: infatuation and blindness are the
attendants of despotism.

The destruction of the Spanish Armada, and the losses which the
Spaniards suffered from Sir Francis Drake and Admiral Hawkins, have
already been mentioned. But the pride of Philip was mortified, rather
than that his power was diminished. His ambition received a check, and
he found it impossible to conquer England. His finances, too, became
deranged; still he remained the absolute master of the richest kingdom
in the world.

[Sidenote: Causes of Decline of the Spanish Monarchy.]

The decline of the Spanish monarchy dates from his death which took
place in his magnificent palace of the Escurial, in 1598. Under his
son Philip III., decline became very marked, and future ruin could be

The principal cause of the decline of prosperity was the great
increase of the clergy, and the extent of their wealth. In the Spanish
dominions, which included Spain, Naples, Milan, Parma, Sicily,
Sardinia, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the Indies, there were
fifty-four archbishops, six hundred and eighty-four bishops, seven
thousand hospitals, one hundred thousand abbeys and nunneries, six
hundred thousand monks, and three hundred and ten thousand secular
priests--a priest to every ten families. Almost every village had a
monastery. The diocese of Seville had fourteen thousand priests,
nearly the present number of all the clergy of the establishment in
England. The cathedral of Seville gave support and occupation to one
hundred priests.

And this numerous clergy usurped the power and dignities of the state.
They also encouraged that frightful inquisition, the very name of
which conjures up the most horrid images of death and torture. This
institution, committed to the care of Dominican monks, was instituted
to put down heresy; that is, every thing in poetry, philosophy, or
religion, which was distasteful to the despots of the human mind. The
inquisitors had power to apprehend people even suspected of heresy,
and, on the testimony of two witnesses, could condemn them to torture,
imprisonment, and death. Resistance was vain; complaint was ruin.
Arrests took place suddenly and secretly. Nor had the prisoner a
knowledge of his accusers, or of the crimes of which he was accused.
The most delicate maidens, as well as men of hoary hairs and known
integrity, were subjected to every outrage that human nature could
bear, or satanic ingenuity inflict. Should the jailer take compassion,
and bestow a few crumbs of bread or drops of water, he would be
punished as the greatest of traitors. Even nobles were not exempted
from the supervision of this court, which was established in every
village and town in Portugal and Spain, and which, in the single city
of Toledo, condemned, in one year, seventeen thousand people. This
institution was tolerated by the king, since he knew very well that
there ever exists an intimate union between absolutism in religion and
absolutism in government.

[Sidenote: The Increase of Gold and Silver.]

[Sidenote: Decline of the Spanish Monarchy.]

Besides the spiritual despotism which the clergy of Spain exercised
over a deluded people, but a people naturally of fine elements of
character, the sudden increase of gold and silver led to luxury,
idleness, and degeneracy. Money being abundant, in consequence of the
gold and silver mines of America, the people neglected the cultivation
of those things which money could procure. Then followed a great rise
in the prices of all kinds of provision and clothing. Houses, lands,
and manufactures also soon rose in value. Hence money was delusive,
since, with ten times the increase of specie, there was a
corresponding decrease in those necessaries of life which gold and
silver would purchase. Silver and gold are only the medium of trade,
not the basis of wealth. The real prosperity of a country depends upon
the amount of productive industry. If diamonds were as numerous as
crystals, they would be worth no more than crystals. The sudden influx
of the precious metals into Spain doubtless gave a temporary wealth to
the kingdom; but when habits of industry were lost, and the culture of
the soil was neglected, the gold and silver of the Spaniards were
exchanged for the productive industry of other nations. The Dutch and
the English, whose manufactures and commerce were in a healthy state,
became enriched at their expense. With the loss of substantial wealth,
that is, industry and economy, the Spaniards lost elevation of
sentiment, became cold and proud, followed frivolous pleasures and
amusements, and acquired habits which were ruinous. Plays, pantomimes,
and bull-fights now amused the lazy and pleasure-seeking nation, while
the profligacy of the court had no parallel in Europe, with the
exception of that of France. The country became exhausted by war. The
finances were deranged, and province after province rebelled. Every
where were military reverses, and a decrease of population. Taxes, in
the mean while, increased, and a burdened people lamented in vain
their misfortune and decline. The reign of Philip IV. was the most
disastrous in the annals of the country. The Catalan insurrection, the
loss of Jamaica, the Low Countries, and Portugal, were the results of
his misrule and imbecility. So rapidly did Spain degenerate, that,
upon the close of the Austrian dynasty, with all the natural
advantages of the country, the best harbors and sea-coast in Europe,
the richest soil, and the finest climate, and with the possession of
the Indies also, the people were the poorest, the most ignorant, and
the most helpless in Europe. The death of Charles II., a miserable,
afflicted, superstitious, priest-ridden monarch, left Spain without a
king, and the vacant throne became the prize of any monarch in Europe
who could raise and send across the Pyrenees the largest army. It fell
into the power of Louis XIV., and the Bourbon princes have ever since
in vain attempted the restoration of the broken monarchy to its former
glory. But, alas, Spain has, since the spoliation of the Mexicans and
Peruvians, only a melancholy history--a history of crime, bigotry,
anarchy, and poverty. The Spaniards committed awful crimes in their
lust for gold and silver. "They had their request," but God, in his
retributive justice, "sent leanness into their souls."

       *       *       *       *       *

     For the history of Spain during the Austrian princes, see a
     history in Lardner's Encyclopedia; Watson's Life of
     Philip II.; James's Foreign Statesmen; Schiller's Revolt of
     the Netherlands; Russell's Modern Europe; Prescott's
     Conquest of Mexico and Peru.



[Sidenote: The Roman Power in the Seventeenth Century.]

During the period we have just been considering, the most marked
peculiarity was, the struggle between Protestantism and Romanism. It
is true that objects of personal ambition also occupied the minds of
princes, and many great events occurred, which were not connected with
the struggles for religious liberty and light. But the great feature
of the age was the insurrection of human intelligence. There was a
spirit of innovation, which nothing could suppress, and this was
directed, in the main, to matters of religion. The conflict was not
between church and state, but between two great factions in each. "No
man asked whether another belonged to the same country as himself, but
whether he belonged to the same sect." Luther, Calvin, Zwingle, Knox,
Cranmer, and Bacon were the great pioneers in this march of
innovation. They wished to explode the ideas of the middle ages, in
philosophy and in religion. They made war upon the Roman Catholic
Church, as the great supporter and defender of old ideas. They
renounced her authority. She summoned her friends and vassals, rallied
all her forces, and, with desperate energy, resolved to put down the
spirit of reform. The struggles of the Protestants in England,
Germany, France, and the Netherlands, alike manifested the same
spirit, were produced by the same causes, and brought forth the same
results. The insurrection was not suppressed.

[Sidenote: Rise of the Jesuits.]

The hostile movements of Rome, for a while, were carried on by armies,
massacres, assassinations, and inquisitions. The duke of Alva's
cruelties in the Netherlands, St. Bartholomew's massacre in France,
inquisitorial tortures in Spain, and Smithfield burnings in England,
illustrate this assertion. But more subtle and artful agents were
required, especially since violence had failed. Men of simple lives,
of undoubted piety, of earnest zeal, and singular disinterestedness to
their cause, arose, and did what the sword and the stake could not
do,--revived Catholicism, and caused a reaction to Protestantism
itself. These men were Jesuits, the most faithful, intrepid, and
successful soldiers that ever enlisted under the banners of Rome. The
rise and fortunes of this order of monks form one of the most
important and interesting chapters in the history of the human race.
Their victories, and the spirit which achieved them, are well worth
our notice. In considering them, it must be borne in mind, that the
Jesuits have exhibited traits so dissimilar and contradictory, that it
is difficult to form a just judgment. While they were achieving their
victories, they appeared in a totally different light from what
distinguished them when they reposed on their laurels. In short, the
_earlier_ and the _latter_ Jesuits were entirely different in their
moral and social aspects, although they had the same external
organization. The principles of their system were always the same. The
men who defended them, at first, were marked by great virtues, but
afterwards were deformed by equally as great vices. It was in the
early days of Jesuitism that the events we have recorded took place.
Hence our notice, at present, will be confined to the Jesuits when
they were worthy of respect, and, in some things, even of admiration.
Their courage, fidelity, zeal, learning, and intrepidity for half a
century, have not been exaggerated.

The founder of the order was Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish gentleman of
noble birth, who first appeared as a soldier at the siege of
Pampeluna, where he was wounded, about the time that Luther was
writing his theses, and disputing about indulgences. He amused
himself, on his sick bed, by reading the lives of the saints. His
enthusiastic mind was affected, and he resolved to pass from worldly
to spiritual knighthood. He became a saint, after the notions of the
age; that is, he fasted, wore sackcloth, lived on roots and herbs,
practised austerities, retired to lonely places, and spent his time in
contemplation and prayer. The people were attracted by his sanctity,
and followed him in crowds. His heart burned to convert heretics; and,
to prepare himself for his mission, he went to the universities, and
devoted himself to study. There he made some distinguished converts,
all of whom afterwards became famous. In his narrow cell, at Paris, he
induced Francis Xavier, Faber, Laynez Bobadilla, and Rodriguez to
embrace his views, and to form themselves into an association, for the
conversion of the world. On the summit of Montmartre, these six young
men, on one star-lit night, took the usual monastic vows of _poverty_,
_chastity_, and _obedience_, and solemnly devoted themselves to their
new mission.

[Sidenote: Rapid Spread of the Jesuit Order.]

They then went to Rome, to induce the pope to constitute them a new
missionary order. But they were ridiculed as fanatics. Moreover, for
several centuries, there had been great opposition in Rome against the
institution of new monastic orders. It was thought that there were
orders enough; that the old should be reformed, not new ones created.
Even St. Dominic and St. Francis had great difficulty in getting their
orders instituted. But Loyola and his companions made extraordinary
offers. They professed their willingness to go wherever the pope
should send them, among Turks, heathens, or heretics, instantly,
without condition, or reward.

How could the pope refuse to license them? His empire was in danger;
Luther was in the midst of his victories; the power of ideas and truth
was shaking to its centre the pontifical throne; all the old orders
had become degenerate and inefficient, and the pope did not know where
to look for efficient support. The venerable Benedictines were
revelling in the wealth of their splendid abbeys, while the Dominicans
and the Franciscans had become itinerant vagabonds, peddling relics
and indulgences, and forgetful of those stern duties and virtues which
originally characterized them. All the monks were inexhaustible
subjects of sarcasm and mockery. They even made scholasticism
ridiculous, and the papal dogmas contemptible. Erasmus laughed at
them, and Luther mocked them. They were sensual, lazy, ignorant, and
corrupt. The pope did not want such soldiers. But the followers of
Loyola were full of ardor, talent, and zeal; willing to do any thing
for a sinking cause; able to do any thing, so far as human will can
avail. And they did not disappoint the pope. Great additions were
made. They increased with marvellous rapidity. The zealous, devout,
and energetic, throughout all ranks in the Catholic church, joined
them. They spread into all lands. They became the confessors of kings,
the teachers of youth, the most popular preachers, the most successful
missionaries. In sixteen years after the scene of Montmartre, Loyola
had established his society in the affections and confidence of
Catholic Europe, against the voice of universities, the fears of
monarchs, and the jealousy of the other monastic orders. In sixteen
years, from the condition of a ridiculed fanatic, whose voice,
however, would have been disregarded a century earlier or later, he
became one of the most powerful dignitaries of the church, influencing
the councils of the Vatican, moving the minds of kings, controlling
the souls of a numerous fraternity, and making his power felt, even in
the courts of Japan and China. Before he died, his spiritual sons had
planted their missionary stations amid Peruvian mines, amid the marts
of the African slave trade, in the islands of the Indian Ocean, and in
the cities of Japan and China. Nay, his followers had secured the most
important chairs in the universities of Europe, and had become
confessors to the most powerful monarchs, teachers in the best schools
of Christendom, and preachers in its principal pulpits. They had
become an organization, instinct with life, endued with energy and
will, and forming a body which could outwatch Argus with his hundred
eyes, and outwork Briareus with his hundred arms. It had forty
thousand eyes open upon every cabinet and private family in Europe,
and forty thousand arms extended over the necks of both sovereigns and
people. It had become a mighty power in the world, inseparably
connected with the education and the religion of the age, the prime
mover of all political affairs, the grand prop of absolute monarchies,
the last hope of the papal hierarchy.

[Sidenote: Rapid Spread of the Jesuits.]

The sudden growth and enormous resources of the "Society of Jesus"
impress us with feelings of amazement and awe. We almost attribute
them to the agency of mysterious powers, and forget the operations of
natural causes. The history of society shows that no body of men ever
obtained a wide-spread ascendency, except by the exercise of
remarkable qualities of mind and heart. And this is the reason why the
Jesuits prospered. When Catholic Europe saw young men, born to fortune
and honors, voluntarily surrendering their rank and goods, devoting
themselves to religious duties, spending their days in hospitals and
schools, wandering, as missionaries, into the most unknown and
dangerous parts of the world, exciting the young to study, making
great attainments in all departments of literature and science, and
shedding a light, wherever they went, by their genius and
disinterestedness, it was natural that they would be received as
preachers, teachers, and confessors. That they were characterized,
during the first fifty years, by such excellencies, has never been
denied. The Jesuit missionary called forth the praises of Baxter, and
the panegyric of Leibnitz. He went forth, without fear, to encounter
the most dreaded dangers. Martyrdom was nothing to him, for he knew
that the altar, which might stream with his blood, would, in after
times, be a cherished monument of his fame, and an impressive emblem
of the power of his religion. Francis Xavier, one of the first
converts of Loyola, a Spaniard of rank, traversed a tract of more than
twice the circumference of the globe, preaching, disputing, and
baptizing, until seventy thousand converts attested the fruits of his
mission. In perils, fastings, and fatigues, was the life of this
remarkable man passed, to convert the heathen world; and his labors
have never been equalled, as a missionary, except by the apostle Paul.
But China and Japan were not the only scenes of the enterprises of
Jesuit missionaries. As early as 1634, they penetrated into Canada,
and, shortly after to the sources of the Mississippi and the prairies
of Illinois. "My companion," said the fearless Marquette, "is an envoy
of France, to discover new countries; but I am an ambassador of God,
to enlighten them with the gospel." But of all the missions of the
Jesuits, those in Paraguay were the most successful. They there
gathered together, in _reductions_, or villages, three hundred
thousand Indians, and these were bound together by a common interest,
were controlled by a paternal authority, taught useful arts, and
trained to enjoy the blessings of civilization. On the distant banks
of the La Plata, while the Spanish colonists were hunting the Mexicans
and Peruvians with bloodhounds, or the English slave traders were
consigning to eternal bondage the unhappy Africans, the Jesuits were
realizing the ideal paradise of More--a Utopia, where no murders or
robberies were committed, and where the blessed flowers of peace and
harmony bloomed in a garden of almost primeval loveliness.

[Sidenote: Extraordinary Virtues of the Older Jesuits.]

In that age, the Jesuit excelled in any work to which he devoted his
attention. He was not only an intrepid missionary, but a most
successful teacher. Into the work of education he entered heart and
soul. He taught gratuitously, without any crabbed harshness, and with
a view to gain the heart. He entered into the feelings of his pupils,
and taught them to subdue their tempers, and avoid quarrels and oaths.
He excited them to enthusiasm, perceived their merits, and rewarded
the successful with presents and favors. Hence the schools of the
Jesuits were the best in Europe, and were highly praised even by the
Protestants. The Jesuits were even more popular as preachers than they
were as teachers; and they were equally prized as confessors. They
were so successful and so respected, that they soon obtained an
ascendency in Europe. Veneration secured wealth, and their
establishments gradually became magnificently endowed. But all their
influence was directed to one single end--to the building up of the
power of the popes, whose obedient servants they were. Can we wonder
that Catholicism should revive?

[Sidenote: The Constitution of the Jesuits.]

Again, their constitution was wonderful, and admirably adapted to the
ends they had in view. Their vows were indeed substantially the same
as those of other monks, but there was among them a more practical
spirit of obedience. All the members were controlled by a single
will--all were passive, instruments in the hands of the general of the
order. He appointed presidents of colleges and of religious houses;
admitted, dismissed, dispensed, and punished at his pleasure. His
power was irresponsible, and for life. From his will there was no
appeal. There were among them many gradations in rank, but each
gradation was a gradation in slavery. The Jesuit was bound to obey
even his own servant, if required by a superior. Obedience was the
soul of the institution, absolute, unconditional, and unreserved--even
the submission of the will, to the entire abnegation of self. The
Jesuit gloried in being made a puppet, a piece of machinery, like a
soldier, if the loss of his intellectual independence would advance
the interests of his order. The _esprit de corps_ was perfectly
wonderful, and this spirit was one secret of the disinterestedness of
the body. "_Ad majorem Dei gloriam,_" was the motto emblazoned on
their standards, and written on their hearts; but this glory of God
was synonymous with the ascendency of their association.

The unconditional obedience to a single will, which is the genius of
Jesuitism, while it signally advanced the interests of the body, and
of the pope, to whom they were devoted, still led to the most
detestable and resistless spiritual despotism ever exercised by man.
The Jesuit, especially when obscure and humble, was a tool, rather
than an intriguer. He was bound hand and foot by the orders of his
superiors, and they alone were responsible for his actions.

[Sidenote: Degeneracy of the Jesuits.]

We can easily see how the extraordinary virtues and attainments of the
early Jesuits, and the wonderful mechanism of their system, would
promote the growth of the order and the interests of Rome, before the
suspicions of good people would be aroused. It was a long time after
their piety had passed to fraud, their simplicity to cunning, their
poverty to wealth, their humility to pride, and their indifference to
the world to cabals, intrigues, and crimes, before the change was
felt. And, moreover, it was more than a century before the fruits of
the system were fully reaped. With all the excellences of their
schools and missions, dangerous notions and customs were taught in
them, which gradually destroyed their efficacy. A bad system often
works well for a while, but always carries the seeds of decay and
ruin. It was so with the institution of Loyola, in spite of the
enthusiasm and sincerity of the early members, and the masterly wisdom
displayed by the founders. In after times, evils were perceived, which
had, at first, escaped the eye. It was seen that the system of
education, though specious, and, in many respects, excellent, was
calculated to narrow the mind, while it filled it with knowledge.
Young men, in their colleges, were taught blindly to follow a rigid
mechanical code; they were closely watched; all books were taken from
them of a liberal tendency; mutilated editions of such as could not be
denied only were allowed; truths of great importance were concealed or
glossed over; exploded errors were revived, and studies recommended
which had no reference to the discussion of abstract questions on
government or religion. And the boys were made spies on each other,
their spirits were broken, and their tastes perverted. The Jesuits
sought to guard the avenues to thought, not to open them, were jealous
of all independence of mind, and never sought to go beyond their age,
or base any movement on ideal standards.

[Sidenote: Evils in the Jesuit System.]

Again, as preachers, though popular and eloquent, they devoted their
talents to convert men to the _Roman church_ rather than to _God_.
They were bigoted sectarians; strove to make men Catholics rather than
Christians. As missionaries, they were content with a mere nominal
conversion. They gave men the crucifix, but not the Bible, and even
permitted their converts to retain many of their ancient superstitions
and prejudices. And thus they usurped the authority of native rulers,
and sought to impose on China and Japan their despotic yoke. They
greatly enriched themselves in consequence of the credulity of the
natives, whom they flattered, and wielded an unlawful power. And this
is one reason why they were expelled, and why they made no permanent
conquests among the millions they converted in Japan. They wished not
only to subjugate the European, but the Asiatic mind. Europe did not
present a field sufficiently extensive for their cupidity and

Finally, as confessors, they were peculiarly indulgent to those who
sought absolution, provided their submission was complete. Then it was
seen what an easy thing it was to bear the yoke of Christ. The
offender was told that sin consisted in wilfulness, and wilfulness in
the perfect knowledge of the nature of sin, according to which
doctrine blindness and passion were sufficient exculpations. They
invented the doctrine of mental reservation, on which Pascal was so
severe. Perjury was allowable, if the perjured were inwardly
determined not to swear. A man might fight a duel, if in danger of
being stigmatized as a coward; he might betray his friend, if he could
thus benefit his party. The Jesuits invented a system of casuistry
which confused all established ideas of moral obligation. They
tolerated, and some of them justified, crimes, if the same could be
made subservient to the apparent interests of the church. Their
principle was to do evil that good might come. Above all, they
conformed to the inclinations of the great, especially to those of
absolute princes, on whom they imposed no painful penance, or austere
devotion. Their sympathies always were with absolutism, in all its
forms and they were the chosen and trusted agents of the despots of
mankind, until even the eyes of Europe were open to their vast
ambition, which sought to erect an independent empire within the
limits of despotism itself. But the corruptions of the Jesuits, their
system of casuistry, their lax morality, their disgraceful intrigues,
their unprincipled rapacity, do not belong to the age we have now been
considering. These fruits of a bad system had not then been matured;
and the infancy of the society was as beautiful as its latter days
were disgraceful and fearful. In a future chapter, we shall glance at
the decline and fall of this celebrated institution--the best adapted
to its proposed ends of any system ever devised by the craft and
wisdom of man.

[Sidenote: The Popes in the Seventeenth Century.]

The great patrons of the Jesuits--the popes and their empire in the
sixteenth century, after the death of Luther--demand some notice. The
Catholic church, in this century, was remarkable for the reformation
it attempted within its own body, and for the zeal, and ability, and
virtue, which marked the character of many of the popes themselves.
Had it not been for this counter reformation, Protestantism would have
obtained a great ascendency in Europe. But the Protestants were
divided among themselves, while the Catholics were united, and
animated with singular zeal. They put forth their utmost energies to
reconquer what they had lost. They did not succeed in this, but they
secured the ascendency, on the whole, of the Catholic cause in Europe.
For this ascendency the popes are indebted to the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: Nepotism of the Popes.]

At the close of the sixteenth century, the popes possessed a
well-situated, rich, and beautiful province. All writers celebrated
its fertility. Scarcely a foot of land remained uncultivated. Corn was
exported, and the ports were filled with ships. The people were
courageous, and had great talents for business. The middle classes
were peaceful and contented, but the nobles, who held in their hands
the municipal authority, were turbulent, rapacious, and indifferent to
intellectual culture. The popes were generally virtuous characters,
and munificent patrons of genius. Gregory XIII. kept a list of men in
every country who were likely to acquit themselves as bishops, and
exhibited the greatest caution in appointing them. Sixtus V., whose
father was an humble gardener, encouraged agriculture and
manufactures, husbanded the resources of the state, and filled Rome
with statues. He raised the obelisk in front of St. Peter's, and
completed the dome of the Cathedral. Clement VIII. celebrated the mass
himself, and scrupulously devoted himself to religious duties. He was
careless of the pleasures which formerly characterized the popes, and
admitted every day twelve poor persons to dine with him. Paul V. had
equal talents and greater authority, but was bigoted and cold.
Gregory XIV. had all the severity of an ancient monk. The only
religious peculiarity of the popes, at the latter end of the sixteenth
century, which we unhesitatingly condemn, was, their religious
intolerance. But they saw that their empire would pass away, unless
they used vigorous and desperate measures to retain it. During this
period, the great victories of the Jesuits, the establishment of their
colleges, and the splendid endowments of their churches took place.
Gregory XV. built, at his own cost, the celebrated church of St.
Ignatius, at Rome, and instituted the Propaganda, a missionary
institution, under the control of the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: Rome in the Seventeenth Century.]

The popes, whether good or bad, did not relinquish their nepotism in
this century, in consequence of which great families arose with every
pope, and supplanted the old aristocracy. The Barberini family, in one
pontificate, amassed one hundred and five millions of scudi--as great
a fortune as that left by Mazarin. But they, enriched under
Urban VII., had to flee from Rome under Innocent X. Jealousy and
contention divided and distracted all the noble families, who vied
with each other in titles and pomp, ceremony and pride. The ladies of
the Savelli family never quitted their palace walls, except in closely
veiled carriages. The Visconti decorated their walls with the
portraits of the popes of their line. The Gaetana dwelt with pride on
the memory of Boniface VIII. The Colonna and Orsini boasted that for
centuries no peace had been concluded in Christendom, in which they
had not been expressly included. But these old families had become
gradually impoverished, and yielded, in wealth and power, though not
in pride and dignity, to the Cesarini, Borghesi, Aldobrandini,
Ludovisi, Giustiniani, Chigi, and the Barberini. All these families,
from which popes had sprung, had splendid palaces, villas, pictures,
libraries, and statues; and they contributed to make Rome the centre
of attraction for the elegant and the literary throughout Europe. It
was still the moral and social centre of Christendom. It was a place
to which all strangers resorted, and from which all intrigues sprung.
It was the scene of pleasure, gayety, and grandeur. And the splendid
fabric, which was erected in the "ages of faith," in spite of all the
calamities and ravages of time, remained still beautiful and
attractive. Since the first secession, in the sixteenth century, Rome
has lost none of her adherents, and those, who remained faithful, have
become the more enthusiastic in their idolatry.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Ranke's History of the Popes. Father Bouhour's
     Life of Ignatius Loyola. A Life of Xavier, by the same
     author. Stephens's Essay on Loyola. Charlevoix's History of
     Paraguay. Pascal's Provincial Letters. Macaulay's Review of
     Ranke's History of the Popes. Bancroft's chapter, in the
     History of the United States, on the colonization of Canada.
     "Secreta Monita." Histoire des Jésuites. "Spiritual
     Exercises." Dr. Williams's Essay. History of Jesuit
     Missions. The works on the Jesuits are very numerous; but
     those which are most accessible are of a violent partisan
     character. Eugene Sue, in his "Wandering Jew," has given
     false, but strong, impressions. Infidel writers have
     generally been the most bitter, with the exception of
     English and Scotch authors, in the seventeenth century. The
     great work of Ranke is the most impartial with which the
     author is acquainted. Ranke's histories should never be
     neglected, of which admirable translations have been made.



[Sidenote: Political Troubles after the Death of Luther.]

The contests which arose from the discussion of religious ideas did
not close with the sixteenth century. They were, on the other hand,
continued with still greater acrimony. Protestantism had been
suppressed in France, but not in Holland or Germany. In England, the
struggle was to continue, not between the Catholics and Protestants,
but between different parties among the Protestants themselves. In
Germany, a long and devastating war of thirty years was to be carried
on before even religious liberty could be guaranteed.

This struggle is the most prominent event of the seventeenth century
before the English Revolution, and was attended with the most
important religious and political consequences. The event itself was
one of the chief political consequences of the Reformation. Indeed,
all the events of this period either originated in, or became mixed up
with, questions of religion.

From the very first agitation of the reform doctrines, the house of
Austria devoted against their adherents the whole of its immense
political power. Charles V. resolved to suppress Protestantism, and
would have perhaps succeeded, had it not been for the various wars
which distracted his attention, and for the decided stand which the
Protestant princes of Germany took respecting Luther and his
doctrines. As early as 1530, was formed the league of Smalcalde,
headed by the elector of Saxony, the most powerful of the German
princes, next to the archduke of Austria. The princes who formed this
league, resolved to secure to their subjects the free exercise of
their religion, in spite of all opposition from the Catholic powers.
But hostilities did not commence until after Luther had breathed his
last. The Catholics gained a great victory at the battle of Mühlberg,
when the Elector of Saxony was taken prisoner. With the treaty of
Smalcalde, the freedom of Germany seemed prostrate forever, and the
power of Austria reached its meridian. But the cause of liberty
revived under Maurice of Saxony, once its formidable enemy. All the
fruits of victory were lost again in the congress of Passau, and the
diet of Augsburg, when an equitable peace seemed guaranteed to the

[Sidenote: Diet of Augsburg.]

The diet of Augsburg, 1555, the year of the resignation of Charles V.,
divided Germany into two great political and religious parties, and
recognized the independence of each. The Protestants were no longer
looked upon as rebels, but as men who had a right to worship God as
they pleased. Still, in reality, all that the Lutherans gained was
toleration, not equality. The concessions of the Catholics were made
to necessity, not to justice. Hence, the treaty of Augsburg proved
only a truce, not a lasting peace. The boundaries of both parties were
marked out by the sword, and by the sword only were they to be

For a while, however, peace was preserved, and might have continued
longer, had it not been for the dissensions of Protestants among
themselves, caused by the followers of Calvin and Luther. The
Lutherans would not include the Calvinists in their communion, and the
Calvinists would not accede to the Lutheran church. During these
dissensions, the Jesuits sowed tares, and the Protestants lost the
chance of establishing their perfect equality with the Catholics.

Notwithstanding all the bitterness and jealousy which existed between
sects and parties, still the peace of Germany, in a political sense,
was preserved during the reign of Ferdinand, the founder of the German
branch of the house of Austria, and who succeeded his brother
Charles V. On his death, in 1564, his son Maximilian II., was chosen
emperor, and during his reign, and until his death, in 1576, Germany
enjoyed tranquillity. His successor was his son Rodolph, a weak
prince, and incapable of uniting the various territories which were
hereditary in his family--Austria, Hungary, Transylvania, Bohemia,
Moravia, and Styria. There were troubles in each of these provinces,
and one after another revolted, until Rodolph was left with but the
empty title of emperor. But these provinces acknowledged the sway of
his brother Matthias, who had delivered them from the Turks, and had
granted the Protestants liberty of conscience. The emperor was weak
enough to confirm his brother in his usurpation. In 1612, he died, and
Matthias mounted the imperial throne.

[Sidenote: Commencement of the Thirty Years War.]

It was during the reign of this prince, that the Thirty Years' War
commenced. In proportion as the reformed religion gained ground in
Hungary and Bohemia,--two provinces very difficult to rule,--the
Protestant princes of the empire became desirous of securing and
extending their privileges. Their demands were refused, and they
entered into a new confederacy, called the _Evangelical Union_. This
association was opposed by another, called the _Catholic League_. The
former was supported by Holland, England, and Henry IV., of France.
The humiliation of Austria was the great object of Henry in supporting
the Protestant princes of Germany, and he assembled an army of forty
thousand men, which he designed to head himself. But, just as his
preparations were completed, he was assassinated, and his death and
the dissensions in the Austrian family prevented the war breaking out
with the fury which afterwards characterized it.

The Emperor Matthias died in 1618, and was succeeded by his cousin
Ferdinand, Duke of Styria, who was an inveterate enemy to the
Protestant cause. His first care was to suppress the insurrection of
the Protestants, which, just before his accession had broken out in
Bohemia, under the celebrated Count Mansfeldt. The Bohemians renounced
allegiance to Ferdinand II., and chose Frederic V., elector palatine,
for their king. Frederic unwisely accepted the crown, which confirmed
the quarrel between Ferdinand and the Bohemians. Frederic was seconded
by all the Protestant princes, except the Elector of Saxony, by two
thousand four hundred English volunteers, and by eight thousand troops
from the United Provinces. But Ferdinand, assisted by the king of
Spain and all the Catholic princes, was more than a match for
Frederic, who wasted his time and strength in vain displays of
sovereignty. Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, commanded the forces of the
Catholics, who, with twenty-five thousand troops from the Low
Countries, invaded Bohemia. The Bohemian forces did not amount to
thirty thousand, but they intrenched themselves near Prague, where
they were attacked (1620) and routed, with immense slaughter. The
battle of Prague decided the fate of Bohemia, put Frederic in
possession of all his dominions, and invested him with an authority
equal to what any of his predecessors had enjoyed. All his wishes were
gratified, and, had he been wise, he might have maintained his
ascendency in Germany. But he was blinded by his success, and, from a
rebellion in Bohemia, the war extended through Germany, and afterwards
throughout Europe.

[Sidenote: The Emperor Frederic.]

The emperor had regained his dominions by the victorious arms of
Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria. To compensate him, without detriment to
himself, he resolved to bestow upon him the dominions of the Count
Palatine of the Rhine, who had injudiciously accepted the crown of
Bohemia. Frederic must be totally ruined. He was put under the ban of
the empire, and his territories were devastated by the Spanish general
Spinola, with an army of twenty-five thousand men.

Apparently there was no hope for Frederic, or the Protestant cause.
The only Protestant princes capable of arresting the Austrian
encroachments were the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg. But the
former, John George, preferred the aggrandizement of his house to the
emancipation of his country, and tamely witnessed the victories of the
emperor, without raising an arm for the relief of the Protestants, of
whom he was the acknowledged head. George William of Brandenburg was
still more shamefully fettered by the fear of Austria, and of losing
his dominions; and he, too, cautiously avoided committing himself to
either party.

But while these two great princes ingloriously abandoned Frederic to
his fate, a single soldier of fortune, whose only treasure was his
sword, Ernest Count Mansfield, dared, in the Bohemian town of Pilsen,
to defy the whole power of Austria. Undismayed by the reverses of the
elector palatine, he succeeded in enlisting an army of twenty thousand
men. With such an army, the cause of Frederic was not irretrievably
lost. New prospects began to open, and his misfortunes raised up
unexpected friends. James of England opened his treasures, and
Christian of Denmark offered his powerful support. Mansfeldt was also
joined by the Margrave of Baden. The courage of the count palatine
revived, and he labored assiduously to arouse his Protestant brethren.
Meanwhile, the generals of the emperor were on the alert, and the
rising hopes of Frederic were dissipated by the victories of Tilly.
The count palatine was again driven from his hereditary dominions, and
sought refuge in Holland.

[Sidenote: Count Wallenstein.]

But, though the emperor was successful, his finances were exhausted,
and he was disagreeably dependent on Bavaria. Under his circumstances,
nothing was more welcome than the proposal of Wallenstein, an
experienced officer, and the richest nobleman in Bohemia.

[Sidenote: Character of Wallenstein.]

He offered, at his own expense, and that of his friends, to raise,
clothe, and maintain an army for the emperor, if he were allowed to
augment it to fifty thousand men. His project was ridiculed as
visionary; but the offer was too valuable to be rejected. In a few
months, he had collected an army of thirty thousand. His reputation,
the prospect of promotion, and the hope of plunder, attracted
adventurers from all parts of Germany. Knowing that so large a body
could not be held together without great resources, and having none of
his own, he marched his troops into the most fertile territories,
which had not yet suffered from the war, where they subsisted by
contributions and plunder, as obnoxious to their friends as they were
to their enemies. Nothing shows the weakness of the imperial power,
with all its apparent strength, and the barbarous notions and customs
of the country, more than this grant to Wallenstein. And, with all his
heroism and success, he cannot now be viewed in any other light than
as a licensed robber. He was virtually at the head of a troop of
banditti, who fought for the sake of plunder, and who would join any
side which would present the greatest hopes of gain. The genius of
Schiller, both in his dramas and histories, has immortalized the name
of this unprincipled hero, and has excited a strange interest in his
person, his family, and his fortunes. He is represented as "born to
command. His acute eye distinguished at a glance, from among the
multitude, such as were competent, and he assigned to each his proper
place. His praise, from being rarely bestowed, animated and brought
into full operation every faculty; while his steady, reserved, and
earnest demeanor secured obedience and discipline. His very appearance
excited awe and reverence; his figure was proud, lofty, and warlike,
while his bright, piercing eye expressed profundity of thought,
combined with gravity and mystery. His favorite study was that of the
stars, and his most intimate friend was an Italian astrologer. He had
a fondness for pomp and extravagance. He maintained sixty pages; his
ante-chamber was guarded by fifty life-guards, and his table never
consisted of less than one hundred covers. Six barons and as many
knights were in constant attendance on his person. He never smiled,
and the coldness of his temperament was proof against sensual
seductions. Ever occupied with grand schemes, he despised those
amusements in which so many waste their lives. Terror was the talisman
with which he worked: extreme in his punishments as in his rewards, he
knew how to keep alive the zeal of his followers, while no general of
ancient or modern times could boast of being obeyed with equal
alacrity. Submission to his will was more prized by him than bravery,
and he kept up the obedience of his troops by capricious orders. He
was a man of large stature, thin, of a sallow complexion, with short,
red hair, and small, sparkling eyes. A gloomy and forbidding
seriousness sat upon his brow, and his munificent presents alone
retained the trembling crowd of his dependants."

Such was this enterprising nobleman, to whom the emperor Ferdinand
committed so great authority. And the success of Wallenstein
apparently justified the course of the emperor. The greater his
extortions, and the greater his rewards, the greater was the concourse
to his standard. Such is human nature. It is said that, in seven
years, Wallenstein exacted not less than sixty millions of dollars
from one half of Germany--an incredible sum, when the expenditure of
the government of England, at this time, was less than two million
pounds a year. His armies flourished, while the states through which
they passed were ruined. What cared he for the curses of the people,
or the complaints of princes, so long as his army adored him? It was
his object to humble all the princes of the empire, and make himself
so necessary to the emperor that he would gradually sink to become his
tool. He already was created Duke of Friedland, and generalissimo of
the imperial armies. Nor had his victorious career met with any severe
check, but uninterrupted success seemed to promise the realization of
his vast ambition. Germany lay bleeding at his feet, helpless and

But the greatness and the insolence of Wallenstein raised up enemies
against him in all parts of the empire. Fear and jealousy increased
the opposition, even in the ranks of the Catholics. His dismissal was
demanded by the whole college of electors, and even by Spain.
Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, felt himself eclipsed by the successful
general, and was at the head of the cabals against him.

The emperor felt, at this crisis, as Ganganelli did when compelled to
disband the Jesuits, that he was parting with the man to whom he owed
all his supremacy. Long was he undecided whether or not he would make
the sacrifice. But all Germany was clamorous, and the disgrace of
Wallenstein was ordained.

Would the ambitious chieftain, at the head of one hundred thousand
devoted soldiers, regard the commands of the emperor? He made up his
mind to obey, looking to the future for revenge, and feeling that he
could afford to wait for it. Seni had read in the stars that glorious
prospects still awaited him. Wallenstein retired to his estates in
Bohemia, but maintained the pomp and splendor of a prince of the

[Sidenote: Gustavus Adolphus.]

Scarcely had he retired from the command of the army before his
services were again demanded. One hero produces another. A Wellington
is ever found to oppose a Napoleon. Providence raised up a friend to
Germany, in its distress, in the person of Gustavus Adolphus, King of
Sweden. It was not for personal aggrandizement that he lent his
powerful arm to the Protestant princes, who, thus far, had vainly
struggled against Maximilian, Tilly, and Wallenstein. Zeal for
Protestantism, added to strong provocations, induced him to land in
Germany with fifteen thousand men--a small body to oppose the
victorious troops of the emperor, but they were brave and highly
disciplined, and devoted to their royal master. He himself was
indisputably the greatest general of the age, and had the full
confidence of the Protestant princes, who were ready to rally the
moment he obtained any signal advantage. Henceforth, Gustavus Adolphus
was the hero of the war. He was more than a hero; he was a Christian,
regardful of the morals of his soldiers, and devoted to the interests
of spiritual religion. He was frugal, yet generous, serene in the
greatest danger; and magnanimous beyond all precedent in the history
of kings. On the 20th of May, 1630, taking his daughter Christiana in
his arms, then only four years of age, he presented her to the states
as their future sovereign, and made his farewell address. "Not
lightly, not wantonly," said he, "am I about to involve myself and you
in this new and dangerous war. God is my witness that I do not fight
to gratify my own ambition; but the emperor has wronged me, has
supported my enemies, persecuted my friends, trampled my religion in
the dust, and even stretched forth his revengeful arm against my
crown. The oppressed states of Germany call loudly for aid, which, by
God's help, we will give them.

"I am fully sensible of the dangers to which my life will be exposed.
I have never yet shrunk from them, nor is it likely that I shall
always escape them. Hitherto, Providence has protected me; but I shall
at last fall in defence of my country and my faith. I commend you to
the protection of Heaven. Be just, conscientious, and upright, and we
shall meet again in eternity. For the prosperity of all my subjects, I
offer my warmest prayer to Heaven; and bid you all a sincere--it may
be an eternal--farewell."

He had scarcely landed in Germany before his victorious career began.
France concluded a treaty with him, and he advanced against Tilly, who
now headed the imperial armies.

[Sidenote: Loss of Magdeburg.]

The tardiness of the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg in rendering
assistance caused the loss of Magdeburg, the most important fortress
of the Protestants. It was taken by assault, even while Gustavus was
advancing to its relief. No pen can paint, and no imagination can
conceive, the horrors which were perpetrated by the imperial soldiers
in the sack of that unfortunate place. Neither childhood nor helpless
age--neither youth, beauty, sex, nor rank could disarm the fury of the
conquerors. No situation or retreat was sacred. In a single church
fifty-three women were beheaded. The Croats amused themselves with
throwing children into the flames. Pappenheim's Walloons stabbed
infants at the breast. The city was reduced to ashes, and thirty
thousand of the inhabitants were slain.

But the loss of this important city was soon compensated by the battle
of Leipsic, 1630, which the King of Sweden gained over the imperial
forces, and in which the Elector of Saxony at last rendered valuable
aid. The rout of Tilly, hitherto victorious, was complete, and he
himself escaped only by chance. Saxony was freed from the enemy, while
Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, and Hungary, were stripped of their
defenders. Ferdinand was no longer secure in his capital; the freedom
of Germany was secured. Gustavus was every where hailed as a
deliverer, and admiration for his genius was only equalled by the
admiration of his virtues. He rapidly regained all that the
Protestants had lost, and the fruits of twelve years of war were
snatched away from the emperor. Tilly was soon after killed, and all
things indicated the complete triumph of the Protestants.

It was now the turn of Ferdinand to tremble. The only person who could
save him was dismissed and disgraced. Tilly was dead. Munich and
Prague were in the hands of the Protestants, while the king of Sweden
traversed Germany as a conqueror, law giver, and judge. No fortress
was inaccessible; no river checked his victorious career. The Swedish
standards were planted in Bavaria, Bohemia, the Palatinate, Saxony,
and along the banks of the Rhine. Meanwhile the Turks were preparing
to attack Hungary, and a dangerous insurrection threatened his own
capital. None came to his assistance in the hour of peril. On all
sides, he was surrounded by hostile armies, while his own forces were
dispirited and treacherous.

[Sidenote: Wallenstein Reinstated in Power.]

From such a hopeless state he was rescued by the man whom he had
injured, but not until he had himself to beg his assistance.
Wallenstein was in retirement, and secretly rejoiced in the victories
of the Swedish king, knowing full well that the emperor would soon be
compelled to summon him again to command his armies. Now he could
dictate his terms. Now he could humiliate his sovereign, and at the
same time obtain all the power his ambition craved. He declined
entering his service unless he had the unlimited command of all the
armies of Austria and Spain. No commission in the army was to be
granted by the emperor, without his own approval. He demanded the
ordinary pay, and an imperial hereditary estate. In short, he demanded
sovereign authority; and with such humiliating terms the emperor, in
his necessities, was obliged to comply.

[Sidenote: Death of Gustavus Adolphus.]

No sooner did he raise his standard, than it was resorted to by the
unprincipled, the rapacious, and the needy from all parts of the
empire. But Wallenstein now resolved to pursue, exclusively, his own
selfish interests, and directed all his aims to independent
sovereignty. When his forces were united with those of Maximilian, he
found himself at the head of sixty thousand men. Then really commenced
the severity of the contest, for Wallenstein was now stronger than
Gustavus. Nevertheless, the heroic Swede offered to give his rival
battle at Nuremburg, which was declined. He then attacked his camp,
but was repulsed with loss. At last, the two generals met on the
plains of Lutzen, in Saxony, 1632. During the whole course of the war,
two such generals had not been pitted against each other, nor had so
much been staked on the chance of a battle. Victory declared for the
troops of Gustavus, but the heroic leader himself was killed, in the
fulness of his glory. It was his fortune to die with an untarnished
fame. "By an untimely death," says Schiller, "his protecting genius
rescued him from the inevitable fate of man--that of forgetting
moderation in the intoxication of success, and justice in the
plenitude of power. It may be doubted whether, had he lived longer, he
would still have deserved the tears which Germany shed over his grave,
or maintained his title to the admiration with which posterity regards
him,--as the first and only just conqueror that the world has
produced. But it was no longer the benefactor of Germany who fell at
Lutzen; the beneficent part of his career Gustavus Adolphus had
already terminated; and now the greatest service which he could render
to the liberties of Germany was--to die. The all-engrossing power of
an individual was at an end; the equivocal assistance of an
over-powerful protector gave place to a more noble self-exertion on
the part of the estates; and those who formerly were the mere
instruments of his aggrandizement, now began to work for themselves.
The ambition of the Swedish monarch aspired, unquestionably, to
establish a power within Germany inconsistent with the liberties of
the estates. His aim was the imperial crown; and this dignity,
supported by his power, would be liable to more abuse than had ever
been feared from the house of Austria. His sudden disappearance
secured the liberties of Germany, and saved his own reputation, while
it probably spared him the mortification of seeing his own allies in
arms against him, and all the fruits of his victories torn from him by
a disadvantageous peace."

After the battle of Lutzen we almost lose sight of Wallenstein, and no
victories were commensurate with his reputation and abilities. He
continued inactive in Bohemia, while all Europe was awaiting the
exploits which should efface the remembrance of his defeat. He
exhausted the imperial provinces by enormous contributions, and his
whole conduct seems singular and treacherous. His enemies at the
imperial court now renewed their intrigues, and his conduct was
reviewed with the most malicious criticism. But he possessed too great
power to be openly assailed by the emperor, and measures were
concerted to remove him by treachery. Wallenstein obtained notice of
the designs against him, and now, too late, resolved on an open
revolt. But he was betrayed, and his own generals, on whom he counted,
deserted him, so soon as the emperor dared to deprive him of his
command. But he was only removed by assassination, and just at the
moment when he deemed himself secure against the whole power of the
emperor. No man, however great, can stand before an authority which is
universally deemed legitimate, however reduced and weakened that
authority may be. In times of anarchy and revolution, there is
confusion in men's minds respecting the persons in whom legitimate
authority should be lodged, and this is the only reason why rebellion
is ever successful.

[Sidenote: Assassination of Wallenstein.]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Westphalia.]

The death of Wallenstein, in 1634, did not terminate the war. It raged
eleven years longer, with various success, and involved the other
European powers. France was then governed by Cardinal Richelieu, who,
notwithstanding his Catholicism, lent assistance to the Protestants,
with a view of reducing the power of Austria. Indeed, the war had
destroyed the sentiments which produced it, and political motives
became stronger than religious. Oxenstiern and Richelieu became the
master spirits of the contest, and, in the recesses of their cabinets,
regulated the campaigns of their generals. Battles were lost and won
on both sides, and innumerable intrigues were plotted by interested
statesmen. After all parties had exhausted their resources, and
Germany was deluged with the blood of Spaniards, Hollanders,
Frenchmen, Swedes, besides that of her own sons, the peace of
Westphalia was concluded, (1648,)--the most important treaty in the
history of Europe. All the princes and states of the empire were
reëstablished in the lands, rights, and prerogatives which they
enjoyed before the troubles in Bohemia, in 1619. The religious
liberties of the Lutherans and Calvinists were guaranteed, and it was
stipulated that the Imperial Chamber should consist of twenty-four
Protestant members and twenty-six Catholic, and that the emperor
should receive six Protestants into the Aulic Council, the highest
judicial tribunal in the empire. This peace is the foundation of the
whole system of modern European politics, of all modern treaties, of
that which is called the freedom of Germany, and of a sort of balance
of power among all the countries of Western Europe. Dearly was it
purchased, by the perfect exhaustion of national energies, and the
demoralizing sentiments which one of the longest and bloodiest wars in
human history inevitably introduced.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Schiller's History of the Thirty Years' War.
     Russell's Modern Europe. Coleridge's Translation of
     Wallenstein. Kohlrausch's History of Germany. See also a
     history of Germany in Dr. Lardner's Cyclopedia. History of
     Sweden. Plank on the Political Consequences of the
     Reformation. The History of Schiller, however is a classic,
     and is exceedingly interesting and beautiful.



While Germany was rent with civil commotions, and the power of the
emperors was limited by the stand taken against it by the Protestant
princes, France was ruled with an iron hand, and a foundation was laid
for the despotism of Louis XIV. The energetic genius of Cardinal
Richelieu, during the whole period of the thirty years' war, affected
the councils of all the different courts of Europe. He was
indisputably the greatest statesman of his age and nation. To him
France is chiefly indebted for the ascendency she enjoyed in the
seventeenth century. Had Henry IV. lived to the age of Louis XIV.,
France would probably have been permanently greater, although the
power of the king might not have been so absolute.

[Sidenote: Regency of Mary de Medicis.]

When Henry IV. died, he left his kingdom to his son Louis XIII., a
child nine years of age. The first thing to be done was the
appointment of a regent. The Parliament of Paris, in whom this right
seems to have been vested, nominated the queen mother, Mary de
Medicis, and the young king, in a bed of justice,--the greatest of the
royal prerogatives,--confirmed his mother in the regency. Her regency
was any thing but favorable to the interests of the kingdom. The
policy of the late king was disregarded, and a new course of measures
was adopted. Sully, through whose counsels the reign of Henry IV. had
been so beneficent, was dismissed. The queen regent had no sympathy
with his views. Neither the corrupt court nor the powerful aristocracy
cared any thing for the interests of the people, for the improvement
of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, for the regulation of the
finances, or for increasing the productive industry of the country, on
which its material prosperity ever depends. The greedy courtiers
obtained from a lavish queen the treasures which the wise care of
Henry had amassed, and which he thoughtlessly bestowed in order to
secure their fidelity. The foreign policy also was changed, and a
strong alliance was made with the pope, with Spain, and with the

On the retirement of the able and incorruptible Sully, favorites of no
talent or worth arose to power. Concini, an Italian, controlled the
queen regent, and through him all her favors flowed. He was succeeded
by Luynes, a mere falconer, who made himself agreeable to the young
king, and usurped the power of Concini, when the king attained his
majority. He became constable of France, the highest officer in the
realm, and surpassed all the old nobility in arrogance and cupidity.
His mismanagement and selfishness led to an insurrection of some of
the great nobles among whom were Condé and D'Épernon.

[Sidenote: Rise of Cardinal de Richelieu.]

While the kingdom was thus convulsed with civil war, and in every way
mismanaged, Richelieu, Bishop of Luçon, appeared upon the stage. He
was a man of high birth, was made doctor of the Sorbonne at the age of
twenty-two, and, before he was twenty-five, a bishop. During the
ascendency of Mancini, he attracted the attention of the queen, and
was selected as secretary of state. Soon after the death of Luynes, he
obtained a cardinal's hat, and a seat in the council. The moment he
spoke, his genius predominated, and the monarch, with all his pride,
bowed to the ascendency of intellect, and yielded, with a good grace,
to a man whom it was impolitic to resist.

From that moment, in 1622, the reins of empire were in the hands of a
master, and the king himself, were it not for the splendor of his
court, would have disappeared from the eye, both of statesmen and
historians. The reign of anarchy, for a quarter of a century, at
least, was over, and the way was prepared for the aggrandizement of
the French monarchy. When Richelieu came into power, universal
disorder prevailed. The finances were deranged, the Huguenots were
troublesome, and the nobles were rebellious. Such was the internal
state of France,--weakened, distracted, and anarchical. She had lost
her position among the great powers, and Austria threatened to
overturn the political relations of all the states of Europe. Austria,
in the early part of the seventeenth century, was, unquestionably, the
leading power in Christendom, and her ascendency boded no good to the
liberties which men were beginning to assert.

[Sidenote: Suppression of the Huguenots.]

Three great objects animated the genius of Richelieu, and in the
attainment of these he was successful. These were, the suppression of
the Huguenots, as a powerful party, the humiliation of the great
barons, and the reduction of the power of Austria. For these objects
he perseveringly contended for twenty years; and his struggles and
intrigues to secure these ends constitute the history of France during
the reign of Louis XIII. And they affected not only France, but the
whole continent. His policy was to preserve peace with England and
Spain,--the hereditary enemies of France,--with Sweden, and with the
Protestants of Germany, even while he suppressed their religion within
his own realm. It was the true policy of England to prevent the ruin
of the Huguenots in France, as before she had aided the Protestants in
Holland. But, unfortunately, England was then ruled by James and
Charles, and they were controlled by profligate ministers, who were
the tools of the crafty cardinal. A feeble assistance was rendered by
James, but it availed nothing.

In order to annihilate the political power of the Huguenots,--for
Richelieu cared more for this than for their religious opinions,--it
was necessary that he should possess himself of the city of La
Rochelle, on the Bay of Biscay, a strong fortress, which had resisted,
during the reign of Charles IX., the whole power of the Catholics, and
which continued to be the stronghold of the Huguenots. Here they could
always retire and be safe, in times of danger. It was strongly
fortified by sea, as well as by land; and only a vigorous blockade
could exclude provisions and military stores from the people. But
England was mistress of the ocean, and supplies from her would always
relieve the besieged.

After ineffectual but vigorous attempts to take the city by land,
Richelieu determined to shut up its harbor, first by stakes, and then
by a boom. Both of these measures failed. But the military genius of
the cardinal was equal to his talents as a statesman. He remembered
what Alexander did at the siege of Tyre. So, with a volume of Quintus
Curtius in his hand, he projected and finished a mole, half a mile in
length, across a gulf, into which the tide flowed. In some places, it
was eight hundred and forty feet below the surface of the water, and
sixty feet in breadth. At first, the besieged laughed at an attempt so
gigantic and difficult. But the work steadily progressed, and the city
was finally cut off from communication with the sea. The besieged,
wasted by famine, surrendered; the fortifications were destroyed, the
town lost its independence, and the power of the Huguenots was broken
forever. But no vengeance was taken on the heroic citizens, and they
were even permitted to enjoy their religion. Fifteen thousand,
however, perished at this memorable siege.

The next object of Richelieu was the humiliation of Austria. But the
detail of his military operations would be complicated and tedious,
since no grand and decisive battles were fought by his generals, and
no able commanders appeared. Turenne and Condé belonged to the next
age. The military operations consisted in frontier skirmishes, idle
sieges, and fitful expeditions, in which, however, the cardinal had
the advantage, and by which he gained, since he could better afford to
pay for them. War is always ruinously expensive, and that party
generally is successful which can the longer furnish resources. It is
a proof that religious bigotry did not mainly influence him, since he
supported the Protestant party. All motives of a religious kind were
absorbed in his prevailing passion to aggrandize the French monarchy.
Had it not been for the intrigues and forces of Richelieu, the peace
of Westphalia might not have been secured, and Austria might again
have overturned the "Balance of Power."

[Sidenote: The Depression of the Great Nobles.]

The third great aim of the minister, and the one which he most
systematically pursued to the close of his life, was the depression of
the nobles, whose power was dangerously exercised. They had almost
feudal privileges, were enormously wealthy, numerous, corrupt, and
dissolute. His efforts to suppress their power raised up numerous

Among the earliest was one supported by the queen mother and Gaston,
Duke of Orleans, brother to the king, and presumptive heir to the
throne. Connected with this conspiracy were the Dukes of Bourbon and
Vendome, the Prince de Chalais, and several others of the highest
rank. It was intended to assassinate the cardinal and seize the reins
of government. But he got timely notice of the plot, informed the
king, and guarded himself. The conspirators were too formidable to be
punished in a body; so he dissembled and resolved to cut them off in
detail. He moreover threatened the king with resignation, and
frightened him by predicting a civil war. In consequence, the king
gave orders to arrest his brothers, the Dukes of Bourbon and Vendome,
while the Prince of Chalais was executed. The Duke of Orleans, on the
confession of Chalais, fled from the kingdom. The queen mother was
arrested, Bassompierre was imprisoned in the Bastile, and the Duke of
Guise sent on a pilgrimage to Rome. The powerful D'Épernon sued for

Still Richelieu was not satisfied. He resolved to humble the
parliament, because it had opposed an ordinance of the king declaring
the partisans of the Duke of Orleans guilty of treason. It had rightly
argued that such a condemnation could not be issued without a trial.
"But," said the artful minister to the weak-minded king, "to refuse to
verify a declaration which you yourself announced to the members of
parliament, is to doubt your authority." An extraordinary council was
convened, and the parliament, which was simply a court of judges, was
summoned to the royal presence. They went in solemn procession,
carrying with them the record which showed their refusal to register
the edict. The king received them with stately pomp. They were
required to kneel in his presence, and their decree was taken from the
record and torn in pieces before their eyes, and the leading members
were suspended and banished.

The Court of Aids, by whom the money edicts were registered, also
showed opposition. The members left the court when the next edict was
to be registered. But they were suspended, until they humbly came to

"All the malcontents, the queen, the prince, the nobles, the
parliament, and the Court of Aids hoped for the support of the people,
and all were disappointed." And this is the reason why they failed and
Richelieu triumphed. There never have been, among the French,
disinterestedness and union in the cause of liberty, which never can
be gained without perseverance and self-sacrifice.

The next usurpation of Richelieu was the erection of a new tribunal
for trying state criminals, in which no record of its proceedings
should be preserved, and the members of which should be selected by
himself. This court was worse than that of the Star Chamber.

Richelieu showed a still more culpable disregard of the forms of
justice in the trial of Marshal Marrillac, charged with crimes in the
conduct of the army. He was brought before a commission, and not
before his peers, condemned, and executed.

In view of this judicial murder, the nobles, generally, were filled
with indignation and alarm. They now saw that the minister aimed at
the complete humiliation of their order, and therefore made another
effort to resist the cardinal. At the head of this conspiracy was the
Duke of Montmorency, admiral and constable of France, one of the most
powerful nobles in the kingdom. He was governor of Provence, and
deeply resented the insult offered to his rank in the condemnation of
Marrillac. He moreover felt indignant that the king's brother should
be driven into exile by the hostility of a priest. He therefore joined
his forces with those of the Duke of Orleans, was defeated, tried, and
executed for rebellion, against the entreaty and intercession of the
most powerful families.

[Sidenote: Power of Richelieu.]

The cardinal minister was now triumphant over all his enemies. He had
destroyed the political power of the Huguenots, extended the boundary
of France, and decimated the nobles. He now turned his attention to
the internal administration of the kingdom. He created a national
navy, protected commerce and industry, rewarded genius, and formed the
French Academy. He attained a greater pitch of greatness than any
subject ever before or since enjoyed in his country, greater even than
was possessed by Wolsey. Wolsey, powerful as he was, lived, like a
Turkish vizier, in constant fear of his capricious master. But
Richelieu controlled the king himself. Louis XIII. feared him, and
felt that he could not reign without him. He did not love the
cardinal, and was often tempted to dismiss him, but could never summon
sufficient resolution. Richelieu was more powerful than the queen
mother, the brothers of the king, the royal mistresses, or even all
united, since he obtained an ascendency over all, doomed the queen
mother to languish in exile at Cologne, and compelled the duke of
Orleans to succumb to him. He was chief of three of the principal
monastic orders, and possessed enormous wealth. He erected a palace as
grand as Hampton Court, and appeared in public with great pomp and

[Sidenote: Character of Richelieu.]

But an end came to his greatness. In 1642, a mortal malady wasted him
away; he summoned to his death bed his royal master; recommended
Mazarin as his successor; and died like a man who knew no remorse, in
the fifty-eighth year of his age, and the eighteenth of his reign as
minister. He was eloquent, but his words served only to disguise his
sentiments; he was direct and frank in his speech, and yet a perfect
master of the art of dissimulation; he could not be imposed upon, and
yet was passionately fond of flattery, which he liked in such large
doses that it seemed hyperbolical; he was not learned, yet appreciated
learning in others, and magnificently rewarded it; he was fond of
pleasure, and easily fascinated by women, and yet was cold, politic,
implacable, and cruel. But he was a great statesman, and aimed to
suppress anarchy and preserve law. In view of his labors to preserve
order, we may almost excuse his severity. "Placed," says Montrésor, as
quoted by Miss Pardoe, "at an equal distance between Louis IX., whose
aim was to abolish feudality, and the national convention, whose
attempt was to crush aristocracy, he appeared, like them, to have
received a mission of blood from heaven." The high nobility, repulsed
under Louis XI. and Francis I., almost entirely succumbed under
Richelieu, preparing, by its overthrow, the calm, unitarian, and
despotic reign of Louis XIV., who looked around him in vain for a
great noble, and found only courtiers. The great rebellion, which, for
nearly two centuries, agitated France, almost entirely disappeared
under the ministry of the cardinal. The Guises, who had touched with
their hand the sceptre of Henry III., the Condés, who had placed their
foot on the steps of the throne of Henry IV., and Gaston, who had
tried upon his brow the crown of Louis XIII.,--all returned, at the
voice of the minister, if not into nothingness, at least into
impotency. All who struggled against the iron will, enclosed in that
feeble body, were broken like glass. And all the struggle which
Richelieu sustained, he did not sustain for his own sake, but for that
of France. All the enemies, against whom he contended, were not his
enemies merely, but those of the kingdom. If he clung tenaciously by
the side of a king, whom he compelled to live a melancholy, unhappy,
and isolated life, whom he deprived successively of his friends, of
his mistresses, and of his family, as a tree is stripped of its
leaves, of its branches, and of its bark, it was because friends,
mistresses, and family exhausted the sap of the expiring royalty,
which had need of all its egotism to prevent it from perishing. For it
was not intestinal struggles merely,--there was also foreign war,
which had connected itself fatally with them. All those great nobles
whom he decimated, all those princes of the blood whom he exiled, were
inviting foreigners to France; and these foreigners, answering eagerly
to the summons, were entering the country on three different
sides,--the English by Guienne, the Spaniards by Roussillon, and the
Austrians by Artois.

[Sidenote: Effects of Richelieu's Policy.]

"He repulsed the English by driving them to the Isle of Ré, and by
besieging La Rochelle; the Spaniards, by creating beside them the new
kingdom of Portugal; and the imperialists, by detaching Bavaria from
its alliance, by suspending their treaty with Denmark, and by sowing
dissensions in the Catholic league. His measures were cruel, but not
uncalled for. Chalais fell, but he had conspired with Lorraine and
Spain; Montmorency fell, but he had entered France with arms in his
hand; Cinq-Mars fell, but he had invited foreigners into the kingdom.
Bred a simple priest, he became not only a great statesman, but a
great general. And when La Rochelle fell before those measures to
which Schomberg and Bassompierre were compelled to bow, he said to the
king, 'Sire, I am no prophet, but I assure your majesty that if you
will condescend to act as I advise you, you will pacificate Italy in
the month of May, subjugate Languedoc in the month of July, and be on
your return in the month of August.' And each of these prophecies he
accomplished in its time and place, and in such wise that, from that
moment, Louis XIII. vowed to follow forever the counsels of a man by
which he had so well profited. Finally, he died, as Montesquieu
asserts, after having made the monarch enact the secondary character
in the monarchy, but the first in Europe; after having abased the
king, but after having made his reign illustrious; and after having
mowed down rebellion so close to the soil, that the descendants of
those who had composed the league could only form the Fronde, as,
after the reign of Napoleon, the successors of the La Vendée of '93
could only execute the Vendée of '32."

Louis XIII. did not long survive this greatest of ministers. Naturally
weak, he was still weaker by disease. He was reduced to skin and bone.
In this state, he called a council, nominated his queen, Anne of
Austria, regent, during the minority of his son Louis XIV., then four
years of age, and shortly after died, in 1643.

[Sidenote: Richelieu's Policy.]

Mazarin, the new minister, followed out the policy of Richelieu. The
war with Austria and Spain was continued, which was closed, on the
Spanish side, by the victory of Rocroi, in 1643, obtained by the
Prince of Condé, and in which battle twenty-three thousand Frenchmen
completely routed twenty-six thousand Spaniards, killing eight
thousand, and taking six thousand prisoners--one of the bloodiest
battles ever fought. The great Condé here obtained those laurels which
subsequent disgrace could never take away. The war on the side of
Germany was closed, in 1648, by the peace of Westphalia. Turenne first
appeared in the latter campaign of this long war, but gained no signal

Cardinal Mazarin, a subtle and intriguing Italian, while he pursued
the policy of Richelieu, had not his genius or success. He was soon
involved in domestic troubles. The aristocracy rebelled. Had they been
united, they would have succeeded; but their rivalries, jealousies,
and squabbles divided their strength and distracted their councils.
Their cause was lost, and Mazarin triumphed, more from their divisions
than from his own strength.

He first had to oppose a clique of young nobles, full of arrogance and
self-conceit, but scions of the greatest families. They hoped to
recover the ancient ascendency of their houses. The chief of these
were the Dukes of Beaufort, Épernon, and Guise. They made use, as
their tool, of Madame Chevreuse, the confidential friend of the queen
regent. And she demanded of the minister that posts of honor and power
should be given to her friends, which would secure that independence
which Richelieu had spent his life in restraining. Mazarin tried to
amuse her, but, she being inexorable, he was obliged to break with
her, and a conspiracy was the result, which, however, was easily

[Sidenote: Cardinal de Retz.]

But a more formidable enemy appeared in the person of De Retz,
coadjutor archbishop of Paris, and afterwards cardinal, a man of
boundless intrigue, unconquerable ambition, and restless discontent.
To detail his plots and intrigues, would be to describe a labyrinth.
He succeeded, however, in keeping the country in perpetual turmoil,
now inflaming the minds of the people, then exciting insurrections
among the nobles, and then, again, encouraging the parliaments in
resistance. He never appeared as an actor, but every movement was
directed by his genius. He did not escape suspicion, but committed no
overt acts by which he could be punished. He and the celebrated
Duchess de Longueville, a woman who had as great a talent for intrigue
as himself, were the life and soul of the Fronde--a civil war which
ended only in the reëstablishment of the monarchy on a firmer
foundation. As the Fronde had been commenced by a troop of urchins,
who, at the same time, amused themselves with slings, the wits of the
court called the insurgents _frondeurs_, or slingers, insinuating that
their force was trifling, and their aim mischief.

[Sidenote: Prince of Condé.]

Nevertheless, the Frondeurs kept France in a state of anarchy for six
years, and they were headed by some of the most powerful nobles, and
even supported by the Parliament of Paris. The people, too, were on
the side of the rebels, since they were ground down by taxation, and
hoped to gain a relief from their troubles. But the rebels took the
side of the oppressed only for their private advantage, and the
parliament itself lacked the perseverance and intrepidity necessary to
secure its liberty. The civil war of the Fronde, though headed by
discontented nobles, and animated by the intrigues of a turbulent
ecclesiastic, was really the contest between the parliament and the
arbitrary power of the government. And the insurrection would have
been fearful and successful, had the people been firm or the nobles
faithful to the cause they defended. But the English Revolution, then
in progress, and in which a king had been executed, shocked the lovers
of constitutional liberty in France, and reacted then, even as the
French Revolution afterwards reacted on the English mind. Moreover,
the excesses which the people perpetrated at Paris, alarmed the
parliament and the nobles who were allied with it, while it urged on
the ministers to desperate courses. The prince of Condé, whose
victories had given him an immortality, dallied with both parties, as
his interests served. Allied with the court, he could overpower the
insurgents; but allied with the insurgents, he could control the
court. Sometimes he sided with the minister and sometimes with the
insurgents, but in neither case unless he exercised a power and
enjoyed a remuneration dangerous in any government. Both parties were
jealous of him, both feared him, both hated him, both insulted him, and
both courted him. At one time, he headed the royal troops to attack
Paris, which was generally in the hands of the people and of
parliament; and then, at another, he fought like a tiger to defend
himself in Paris against the royal troops. He had no sympathy with
either the parliament or the people, while he fought for them; and he
venerated the throne, while he rebelled against it. His name was Louis
de Bourbon, and he was a prince of the blood. He contended against the
crown only to wrest from it the ancient power of the great nobles; and
to gain this object, he thought to make the parliament and the
Parisian mob his tools. The parliament, sincerely devoted to liberty,
thought to make the nobles its tools, and only leagued with them to
secure their services. The crafty Mazarin quietly beheld these
dissensions, and was sure of ultimate success, even though at one time
banished to Cologne. And, like a reed, he was ever ready to bend to
difficulties he could not control. But he stooped to conquer. He at
last got the Prince of Condé, his brother the Prince of Conti, and the
Duke of Longueville, in his power. When the Duke of Orleans heard of
it, he said, "He has taken a good haul in the net; he has taken a
lion, a fox, and a monkey." But the princes escaped from the net, and,
leagued with Turenne, Bouillon, La Rochefoucault, and other great
nobles reached Paris, and were received with acclamations of joy by
the misguided people. Then, again, they obtained the ascendant. But
the ascendency was no sooner gained than the victors quarrelled with
themselves, and with the parliament, for whose cause they professed to
contend. It was in their power, when united, to have deprived the
queen regent of her authority, and to have established constitutional
liberty in France. But they would not unite. There was no spirit of
disinterestedness, nor of patriotism, nor public virtue, without which
liberty is impossible, even though there were forces enough to batter
down Mount Atlas. Condé, the victor, suffered himself to be again
bribed by the court. He would not persevere in his alliance with
either nobles or the parliament. He did not unite with the nobles
because he felt that he was a prince. He did not continue with the
parliament, because he had no sympathy with freedom. The cause of the
nobles was lost for want of mutual confidence; that of the parliament
for lack of the spirit of perseverance. The parliament, at length,
grew weary of war and of popular commotions, and submitted to the
court. All parties hated and distrusted each other, more than they did
the iron despotism of Mazarin. The power of insurgent nobles declined.
De Retz, the arch intriguer, was driven from Paris. The Duchess de
Longueville sought refuge in the vale of Port Royal; and, in the
Jansenist doctrines, sought that happiness which earthly grandeur
could not secure. Condé quitted Paris to join the Spanish armies. The
rest of the rebellious nobles made humble submission. The people found
they had nothing to gain from any dominant party, and resigned
themselves to another long period of political and social slavery. The
magistrates abandoned, in despair and disgust, their high claims to
political rights, while the young king, on his bed of justice, decreed
that parliament should no more presume to discuss or meddle with state
affairs. The submissive parliament registered, without a murmur, the
edict which gave a finishing stroke to its liberties. The Fronde war
was a complete failure, because all parties usurped powers which did
not belong to them, and were jealous of the rights of each other. The
nobles wished to control the king, and the magistracy put itself
forward to represent the commons, when the states general alone was
the ancient and true representative of the nation, and the body to
which it should have appealed. The Fronde rebellion was a failure,
because it did not consult constitutional forms, because it formed
unnatural alliances, and because it did not throw itself upon the
force of immortal principles, but sought to support itself by mere
physical strength rather than by moral power, which alone is the
secret and the glory of all great internal changes.

[Sidenote: Power of Mazarin.]

The return of Cardinal Mazarin to power, as the minister of
Louis XIV., was the era of his grandeur. His first care was to restore
the public finances; his second was to secure his personal
aggrandizement. He obtained all the power which Richelieu had enjoyed,
and reproved the king, and such a king as Louis XIV., as he would a
schoolboy. He enriched and elevated his relatives, married them into
the first families of France; and amassed a fortune of two hundred
millions of livres, the largest perhaps that any subject has secured
in modern times. He even aspired to the popedom; but this greatest of
all human dignities, he was not permitted to obtain. A fatal malady
seized him, and the physicians told him he had not two months to live.
Some days after, he was seen in his dressing-gown, among his pictures,
of which he was extravagantly fond, and exclaimed, "Must I quit all
these? Look at that Correggio, this Venus of Titian, this incomparable
deluge of Carracci. Farewell, dear pictures, that I have loved so
dearly, and that have cost me so much."

[Sidenote: Death of Mazarin.]

The minister lingered awhile, and amused his last hours with cards. He
expired in 1661; and no minister after him was intrusted with such
great power. He died unlamented, even by his sovereign, whose throne
he had preserved, and whose fortune he had repaired. He had great
talents of conversation, was witty, artful, and polite. He completed
the work which Richelieu began; and, at his death, his master was the
most absolute monarch that ever reigned in France.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Louis XIV. et son Siècle. Miss Pardoe's History
     of Louis XIV. Voltaire's and James's Lives of Louis XIV.
     Memoirs of Cardinal Richelieu. Memoirs of Mazarin. Mémoires
     de Mademoiselle de Montpensier. Mémoires du Duc de Saint
     Simon. Life of Cardinal de Retz, in which the Fronde war is
     well traced. Memoir of the Duchess de Longueville.
     Lacretelle's History of France. Rankin's History of France.
     Sismondi's History of France. Crowe's History, in Lardner's
     Cyclopedia. Rowring's History of the Huguenots. Lord Mahon's
     Life of the Prince of Condé. The above works are the most
     accessible to the American student.



While the Protestants in Germany were struggling for religious
liberty, and the Parliaments of France for political privileges, there
was a contest going on in England for the attainment of the same great
ends. With the accession of James I. a new era commences in English
history, marked by the growing importance of the House of Commons, and
their struggles for civil and religious liberty. The Commons had not
been entirely silent during the long reign of Elizabeth, but members
of them occasionally dared to assert those rights of which Englishmen
are proud. The queen was particularly sensitive to any thing which
pertained to her prerogative, and generally sent to the Tower any man
who boldly expressed his opinion on subjects which she deemed that she
and her ministers alone had the right to discuss. These forbidden
subjects were those which pertained to the management of religion, to
her particular courts, and to her succession to the crown. She never
made an attack on what she conceived to be the constitution, but only
zealously defended what she considered as her own rights. And she was
ever sufficiently wise to yield a point to the commons, after she had
asserted her power, so that concession, on her part, had all the
appearance of bestowing a favor. She never pushed matters to
extremity, but gave way in good time. And in this policy she showed
great wisdom; so that, in spite of all her crimes and caprices, she
ever retained the affections of the English people.

[Sidenote: Accession of James I.]

The son of her rival Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, ascended the throne,
(1603,) under the title of _James I._, and was the first of the Stuart
kings. He had been king of Scotland under the title of _James VI._,
and had there many difficulties to contend with, chiefly in
consequence of the turbulence of the nobles, and the bigotry of the
reformers. He was eager to take possession of his English inheritance,
but was so poor that he could not begin his journey until Cecil sent
him the money. He was crowned, with great ceremony, in Westminster
Abbey, on the 25th of June.

The first acts of his reign were unpopular; and it was subsequently
disgraced by a continual succession of political blunders. To detail
these, or to mention all the acts of this king, or the events of his
inglorious reign would fill a volume larger than this History.
Moreover, from this period, modern history becomes very complicated
and voluminous, and all that can be attempted in this work is, an
allusion to the principal events.

[Sidenote: The Genius of the Reign of James.]

The genius of this reign is the contest between _royal prerogative and
popular freedom_. The proceedings in parliament were characterized by
a spirit of boldness and resistance never before manifested, while the
speeches and acts of the king were marked by an obstinate and stupid
pertinacity to those privileges which absolute kings extorted from
their subjects in former ages of despotism and darkness. The boldness
of the Commons and the bigotry of the king led to incessant
disagreement and discontent; and, finally, under Charles I., to open
rupture, revolution, and strife.

The progress of this insurrection and contest furnishes one of the
most important and instructive chapters in the history of society and
the young student cannot make himself too familiar with details, of
which our limits forbid a description.

The great Puritan contest here begins, destined not to be closed until
after two revolutions, and nearly a century of anxiety, suffering, and
strife. Providence raised up, during the whole of the Stuart dynasty,
great patriots and statesmen, who had an eye to perceive the true
interests and rights of the people, and a heart and a hand to defend
them. No period and no nation have ever been more fertile in great men
than England was from the accession of James I. to the abdication of
James II., a period of eighty-five years. Shakspeare, Raleigh, Coke,
Bacon, Cecil, Selden, Pym, Wentworth, Hollis, Leighton, Taylor,
Baxter, Howe, Cromwell, Hampden, Blake, Vane, Milton, Clarendon,
Burnet, Shaftesbury, are some of the luminaries which have shed a
light down to our own times, and will continue to shine through all
future ages. They were not all contemporaneous, but they all took
part, more or less, on one side or the other, in the great contest of
the seventeenth century. Whether statesmen, warriors, poets, or
divines, they alike made their age an epoch, and their little island
the moral centre of the world.

But we must first allude to some of the events of the reign of
James I., before the struggle between prerogative and liberty
attracted the attention of Europe.

[Sidenote: Conspiracy of Sir Walter Raleigh.]

One of the first was the conspiracy against the king, in which Lord
Cobham and Sir Walter Raleigh were engaged. We lament that so great a
favorite with all readers as Sir Walter Raleigh, so universal a
genius, a man so learned, accomplished, and brave, should have even
been suspected of a treasonable project, and without the excuse of
some traitors, that they wished to deliver their country from tyranny.
But there is no perfection in man. Sir Walter was restless and
ambitious, and had an eye mainly to his own advantage. His wit,
gallantry, and chivalry were doubtless very pleasing qualities in a
courtier, but are not the best qualities of a patriot. He was
disappointed because he could not keep pace with Cecil in the favor of
his sovereign, and because the king took away the monopolies he had
enjoyed. Hence, in conjunction with other disappointed politicians, he
was accused of an attempt to seize the king's person, to change the
ministry, and to place the Lady Arabella Stuart on the throne. Against
Raleigh appeared no less a person than the great Coke, who prosecuted
him with such vehemence that Raleigh was found guilty, and condemned
to death. But the proofs of his guilt are not so clear as the evidence
of his ambition; and much must be attributed to party animosity.
Though condemned, he was not executed; but lived to write many more
books, and make many more voyages, to the great delight both of the
cultivated and the adventurous. That there was a plot to seize the
king is clear, and the conspirators were detected and executed.
Raleigh was suspected of this, and perhaps was privy to it; but the
proofs of his crime were not apparent, except to the judges, and to
the attorney-general, Coke, who compared the different plots to
Samson's foxes, joined in the tails, though their heads were

[Sidenote: Gunpowder Plot.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Catholics.]

The most memorable event at this time in the domestic history of the
kingdom was the Gunpowder Plot, planned by Catesby and other
disappointed and desperate Catholics for the murder of the king, and
the destruction of both houses of parliament. Knowing the sympathies
of James for their religion, the Catholics had expected toleration, at
least. But when persecution continued against them, some reckless and
unprincipled men united in a design to blow up the parliament. Percy,
a relation of the Earl of Northumberland, was concerned in the plot,
and many of the other conspirators were men of good families and
fortunes, but were implacable bigots. They hired a cellar, under the
parliament house, which had been used for coals; and there they
deposited thirty-one barrels of gunpowder, waiting several months for
a favorable time to perpetrate one of the most horrid crimes ever
projected. It was resolved that Guy Fawkes, one of the number, should
set fire to the train. They were all ready, and the 5th of November,
1605, was at hand, the day to which parliament was prorogued; but
Percy was anxious to save _his_ kinsman from the impending ruin, Sir
Everard Digby wished to warn some of _his_ friends, and Tresham was
resolved to give _his_ brother-in-law, Lord Mounteagle, a caution. It
seems that this peer received a letter so peculiar, that he carried it
to Cecil, who showed it to the king, and the king detected or
suspected a plot. The result was, that the cellar was explored by the
lord chamberlain, and Guy Fawkes himself was found, with all the
materials for striking a light, near the vault in which the coal and
the gunpowder were deposited. He was seized, interrogated, tortured,
and imprisoned; but the wretch would not reveal the names of his
associates, although he gloried in the crime he was about to commit,
and alleged, as his excuse, that violent diseases required desperate
remedies, the maxim of the Jesuits. But most of the conspirators
revealed their guilt by flight. They might have escaped, had they fled
from the kingdom; but they hastened only into the country to collect
their friends, and head an insurrection, which, of course, was easily
suppressed. The leaders in this plot were captured and executed, and
richly deserved their fate, although it was clear that they were
infatuated. But in all crime there is infatuation. It was suspected
that the Jesuits were at the bottom of the conspiracy; and the whole
Catholic population suffered reproach from the blindness and folly of
a few bigots, from whom no sect or party ever yet has been free. But
there is no evidence that any of the Catholic clergy were even privy
to the intended crime, which was known only to the absolute plotters.
Some Jesuits were indeed suspected, arrested, tortured, and executed;
but no evidence of guilt was brought against them sufficient to
convict them. But their acquittal was impossible in such a state of
national alarm and horror. Nothing ever made a more lasting and
profound impression on the English mind than this intended crime; and
it strengthened the prejudices against the Catholics even more than
the persecutions under Queen Mary. Had the crime been consummated, it
would only have proved a blunder. It would have shocked and irritated
the nation beyond all self-control; and it is probable that the whole
Catholic population would have been assassinated, or hunted out, as
victims for the scaffold, in every corner of England. It proved,
however, a great misfortune, and the severest blow Catholicism ever
received in England. Thus God overrules all human wickedness. There
was one person who suffered, in consequence of the excited suspicions
of the nation, whose fate we cannot but compassionate; and this person
was the Earl of Northumberland, who was sentenced to pay a fine of
thirty thousand pounds, to be deprived of all his offices, and to be
imprisoned in the Tower for life, and simply because he was the head
of the Catholic party, and a promoter of toleration. Indeed, penal
statutes against the Catholics were fearfully multiplied. No Catholic
was permitted to appear at court, or live in London, or within ten
miles of it, or remove, on any occasion, more than five miles from his
home, without especial license. No Catholic recusant was permitted to
practise surgery, physic, or law; to act as judge, clerk, or officer
of any court or corporation; or perform the office of administrator,
executor, or guardian. Every Catholic who refused to have his child
baptized by a Protestant, was obliged to pay, for each omission, one
hundred pounds. Every person keeping a Catholic servant, was compelled
to pay ten pounds a month to government. Moreover, every recusant was
outlawed; his house might be broken open; his books and furniture
destroyed; and his horses and arms taken from him. Such was the severe
treatment with which the Catholics, even those who were good citizens,
were treated by our fathers in England; and this persecution was
defended by some of the greatest jurists, divines, and statesmen which
England has produced. And yet some maintain that there has been no
progress in society, except in material civilization!

[Sidenote: Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset.]

One of the peculiarities of the reign of James was, the ascendency
which favorites obtained over him, so often the mark of a weak and
vacillating mind. Henry VIII. and Elizabeth had their favorites; but
they were ministers of the royal will. Moreover, they, like Wolsey,
Cromwell, Burleigh, and Essex, were great men, and worthy of the trust
reposed in them. But James, with all his kingcraft and statecraft,
with all his ostentation and boasts of knowledge and of sagacity,
reposed his confidence in such a man as Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.
It is true he also had great men to serve him; Cecil was his
secretary, Bacon was his chancellor, and Coke was his chief justice.
But Carr and Villiers rose above them all in dignity and honor, and
were the companions and confidential agents of their royal master.

[Sidenote: Greatness and Fall of Somerset.]

Robert Carr was a Scottish gentleman, poor and cunning, who had early
been taught that personal beauty, gay dress, and lively manners, would
make his fortune at court. He first attracted the attention of the
king at a tilting match, at which he was the esquire to Lord Dingwall.
In presenting his lord's shield to the king, his horse fell and threw
him at James's feet. His leg was broken, but his fortune was made.
James, struck with his beauty and youth, and moved by the accident,
sent his own surgeon to him, visited him himself, and even taught him
Latin, seeing that the scholastic part of his education had been
neglected. Indeed, James would have made a much better schoolmaster
than king; and his pedantry and conceit were beyond all bounds, so
that Bacon styled him, either in irony or sycophancy, "the Solomon of
the age." Carr now became the pet of the learned monarch. He was
knighted, rich presents were bestowed on him, all bowed down to him as
they would have done to a royal mistress; and Cecil and Suffolk vied
with each other in their attempts to secure the favor of his friends.
He gradually eclipsed every great noble at court, was created Viscount
Rochester, received the Order of the Garter, and, when Cecil, then
Earl of Salisbury, died, received the post of the Earl of Suffolk as
lord chamberlain, he taking Cecil's place as treasurer. Rochester, in
effect, became prime minister, as Cecil had been. He was then created
Earl of Somerset, in order that he might marry the Countess of Essex,
the most beautiful and fascinating woman at the English court. She was
daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, and granddaughter of the old Duke of
Norfolk, executed in 1572, and, consequently, belonged to the first
family in the realm. She was married to Essex at the age of thirteen,
but treated him with contempt and coldness, being already enamored of
the handsome favorite. That she might marry Carr she obtained a
divorce from her husband on the most frivolous grounds, and through
the favor of the king, who would do any thing for the man he delighted
to honor. She succeeded in obtaining her end, and caused the ruin of
all who opposed her wishes. But she proved a beautiful demon, a
fascinating fury, as might be expected from such an unprincipled
woman, although ennobled by "the blood of all the Howards." Her reign
lasted, however, only during the ascendency of her husband. For a
time, "glorious days were succeeded by as glorious nights, when masks
and dancings had a continual motion, and when banquetings rapt up the
spirit of the sacred king, and kept it from descending to earthly
things." But whatever royal favor stamps, royal favor, like fashion,
leaves. Carr was supplanted by Villiers, and his doom was sealed. For
the murder of his old friend Sir Thomas Overbury, who died in the
Tower, as it was then supposed by poison, he and his countess were
tried, found guilty, and disgraced. But he was not executed, and,
after a few years' imprisonment, retired to the country, with his
lady, to reproach and hate each other. Their only child, the Lady Anna
Carr, a woman of great honor and virtue, married the first duke of
Bedford, and was the mother of Lord Russell who died on the scaffold,
a martyr to liberty, in the reign of Charles II. The origin of the
noble families of England is curious. Some few are descended from
successful Norman chieftains, who came over with William the
Conqueror, and whose merit was in their sword. Others are the
descendants of those who, as courtiers, statesmen, or warriors,
obtained great position, power, and wealth, during former reigns. Many
owe their greatness to the fact that they are the offspring of the
illegitimate children of kings, or the descendants of the ignoble
minions of kings. Some few are enrolled in the peerage on account of
their great wealth; and a still smaller number for the eminent
services they have rendered their country like Wellington, Brougham,
or Ellenborough. A vast majority can boast only the merit or the
successful baseness of their ancestors. But all of them are
interlinked by marriages, and therefore share together the glory or
the shame of their progenitors, so far as glory and shame can be
transmitted from father to son, independently of all individual virtue
or vice.

[Sidenote: Duke of Buckingham.]

[Sidenote: Lord Bacon.]

Carr was succeeded in the royal favor by Villiers, and he, more
fortunate, ever retained the ascendency over the mind and heart of
James, as well as of his son Charles I. George Villiers owed his
fortune, not to his birth or talents, but to his fine clothes, his
Parisian manners, smooth face, tall figure, and bland smiles. He
became cup-bearer, then knight, then gentleman of the privy council,
then earl, then marquis, and finally duke of Buckingham, lord high
admiral, warden of the Cinque Ports, high steward of Westminster,
constable of Windsor Castle, and chief justice in eyre of the parks
and forests. "The doting and gloating king" had taught Somerset Latin;
he attempted to teach Buckingham divinity, and called him ever by the
name of "Steenie." And never was there such a mixture of finery,
effeminacy, insolence, and sycophancy in any royal minion before or
since. Beau Brummell never equalled him in dress, Wolsey in
magnificence, Mazarin in peculation, Walpole in corruption, Jeffries
in insolence, or Norfolk in pride. He was the constant companion of
the king, to whose vices he pandered, and through him the royal favor
flowed. But no rewards, or favors, or greatness satisfied him; not so
much because he was ambitious, as because, like a spoiled child, he
did not appreciate the magnitude of the gifts which were bestowed on
him. Nor did he ever know his place; but made love to the queen of
France herself, when he was sent on an embassy. He trampled on the
constitution, subverted the laws, ground down the people by taxes, and
taught the king to disregard the affections of his subjects, and to
view them as his slaves. But such a triumph of iniquity could not be
endured; and Buckingham was finally assassinated, after he had gained
an elevation higher than any English subject ever before attained,
except Wolsey, and without the exercise of any qualities which
entitled him to a higher position than a master of ceremonies at a
fashionable ball. It is easy to conceive that such a minion should
arrive at power under such a monarch as James; but how can we
understand that such a man as Lord Bacon, the chancellor, the
philosopher, the statesman, the man of learning, genius, and wisdom,
should have bowed down to the dust, in vile subserviency, to this
infamous favorite of the king. Surely, what lessons of the frailty of
human nature does the reign of James teach us! The most melancholy
instance of all the singular cases of human inconsistency, at this
time, is the conduct of the great Bacon himself, who reached the
zenith of his power during this reign. It is not the receiving of a
bribe, while exercising the highest judicial authority in the land, on
which alone his shame rests, but his insolent conduct to his
inferiors, his acquiescence in wrong, his base and unmanly sycophancy,
his ingratitude to his friends and patrons, his intense selfishness
and unscrupulous ambition while climbing to power, and, above all, his
willingness to be the tool of a despot who trampled on the rights and
liberties which God had given him to guard; and this in an age of
light, of awakened intelligence, when even his crabbed rival Coke was
seeking to explode the abuses of the Dark Ages. But "the difference
between the soaring angel and the creeping snake, was but a type of
the difference between Bacon the philosopher and Bacon the
attorney-general, Bacon seeking for truth and Bacon seeking for the
Seals." As the author of the Novum Organum, as the pioneer of modern
science, as the calm and patient investigator of nature's laws, as the
miner and sapper of the old false systems of philosophy which enslaved
the human mind, as the writer for future generations, he has received,
as he has deserved, all the glory which admiring and grateful millions
can bestow, of his own nation, and of all nations. No name in British
annals is more illustrious than his, and none which is shaded with
more lasting shame. Pope alone would have given him an immortality as
the "wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind." The only defence for the
political baseness of Bacon--and this is insufficient--is, that all
were base around him. The years when he was in power are among the
darkest and most disgraceful in English history.

[Sidenote: Trial and Execution of Raleigh.]

Allusion has been made to the reign of favorites; but this was but a
small part of the evils of the times. Every thing abroad and at home
was mismanaged. Patents of monopolies were multiplied; the most
grievous exactions were made; indefensible executions were ordered;
the laws were perverted; justice was sold; and an ignominious war was
closed by a still more ignominious peace. The execution of Raleigh was
a disgrace to the king, the court, and the nation, because the manner
of it was so cowardly and cruel. He had been convicted, in the early
part of the reign, of treason, and committed to the Tower. There he
languished twelve years, amusing himself by writing a universal
history, and in seeking the elixir of life; for, in the mysteries of
chemistry, and in the mazes of historical lore, as in the intrigues of
courts, and dangers of camps, he was equally at home.

He was released from his prison in order to take command of an
adventurous expedition to Guiana in quest of gold. In a former voyage
he had visited the banks of the Oronoco in quest of the city of Manoa,
where precious stones and gold existed in exhaustless treasures. That
El Dorado he could not find; but now, in prison, he proposed to
Secretary Winwood an expedition to secure what he had before sought in
vain. The king wavered a while between his cupidity and fear; for,
while he longed for gold, as the traveller does for water on the
desert of Sahara, he was afraid of giving offence to the Spanish
ambassador. But his cupidity was the stronger feeling, and Raleigh was
sent with fourteen ships to the coasts of South America. The
expedition was in every respect unfortunate to Raleigh and to the
king. The gallant commander lost his private fortune and a promising
son, the Spaniards attacked his armament, his troops mutinied and
deserted, and he returned to England, with a sullied fame, to meet a
disappointed sovereign and implacable enemies. In such times, failure
is tantamount to crime, and Raleigh was tried for offences he never
committed. The most glaring injustice, harshness, and sophistry were
resorted to, even by Bacon; but still Raleigh triumphantly defended
himself. But no innocence or eloquence could save him; and he was
executed on the sentence which had been pronounced against him for
treason fifteen years before. To such meanness and cowardice did his
enemies resort to rid the world of a universal genius, whose crime--if
crime he ever committed--had long been consigned to oblivion.

[Sidenote: Encroachments of James.]

But we cannot longer dwell on the lives of eminent individuals during
the reign of James. However interesting may be the details of their
fortunes, their history dwindles into insignificance when compared
with the great public injuries which an infatuated monarch inflicted.
Not cruel in his temper, not stained by personal crimes, quite learned
in Greek and Latin, but weak and ignorant of his duties as a king, he
was inclined to trespass on the rights of his subjects. As has been
already remarked, the genius of his reign was the contest between
prerogative and liberty. The Commons did not acquiesce in his
measures, or yield to his wishes, as they did during the reign of
Elizabeth. He had a notion that the duty of a king was to command, and
that of the subject was to obey, in all things; that kings ruled by
divine right, and were raised by the Almighty above all law. But such
notions were not approved by a parliament which swarmed with Puritans,
and who were not careful to conceal their views from the king. They
insisted on their privileges as tenaciously as the king insisted on
his prerogative, and often came into collision with him. And they
instituted an inquiry into monopolies, and attacked the monstrous
abuses of purveyance, and the incidents of feudal tenure, by which,
among other things, the king became guardian to wards, and received
the profits of their estates during their minority. These feudal
claims, by which the king, in part, received his revenue, were every
year becoming less valuable to the crown, and more offensive to the
people. The king, at length, was willing to compound, and make a
bargain with the Commons, by which he was to receive two hundred
thousand pounds a year, instead of the privileges of wardship, and
other feudal rights. But his necessities required additional grants,
which the Commons were unwilling to bestow; and the king then resorted
to the sale of monopolies and even peerages, sent the more turbulent
of the Commons to prison, and frequently dissolved parliament. He was
resolved to tax the people if supplies were not granted him, while the
Commons maintained that no taxation could be allowed without their
consent. Moreover, the Commons refused to grant such supplies as the
king fancied he needed, unless certain grievances were redressed,
among which was the High Commission Court, an arbitrary tribunal,
which fined and imprisoned without appeal. But James, though pressed
for money, stood firm to his notions of prerogative, and supplied his
most urgent necessities by illegal means. People were dragged to the
Star Chamber, on all kinds of accusations, that they might be
sentenced to pay enormous fines; new privileges and monopolies were
invented, and new dignities created. Baronets, who are hereditary
knights, were instituted, and baronetcies were sold for one thousand
pounds each.

[Sidenote: Quarrel between James and Parliament.]

But the monopolies which the king granted, in order to raise money,
did not inflame the Commons so much as the projected marriage between
the prince of Wales and the infanta of Spain. James flattered himself
that this Spanish match, to arrange which he had sent Buckingham to
the court of Madrid, would procure the restitution of the Palatinate
to the elector, who had been driven from his throne. But the Commons
thought differently. They, as well as the people generally, were
indignant in view of the inactivity of the government in not sending
aid to the distressed Protestants of Germany; and the loss of the
Palatinate was regarded as a national calamity. They saw no good which
would accrue from an alliance with the enemies and persecutors of
these Protestants; but, on the other hand, much evil. As the
constitutional guardians, therefore, of the public welfare and
liberty, they framed a remonstrance to the king, representing the
overgrown power of Austria as dangerous to the liberties of Europe,
and entreated his majesty to take up arms against Spain, which was
allied with Austria, and by whose wealth Austrian armies were

James was inflamed with indignation at this remonstrance, which
militated against all his maxims of government; and he forthwith wrote
a letter to the speaker of the House of Commons, commanding him to
admonish the members "not to presume to meddle with matters of state
which were beyond their capacity, and especially not to touch on his
son's marriage." The Commons, not dismayed, and conscious of strength,
sent up a new remonstrance in which they affirmed that they _were_
entitled to interpose with their counsel in all matters of state, and
that entire freedom of speech was their ancient and undoubted right,
transmitted from their ancestors. The king, in reply, told the
Commons, that "their remonstrance was more like a denunciation of war,
than an address of dutiful subjects, and that their pretension to
inquire into state affairs was a plenipotence to which none of their
ancestors, even during the weakest reigns, had ever dared to aspire."
He farther insinuated that their privileges were derived from royal
favor. On this, the Commons framed another protest,--that the
liberties, franchises, privileges, and jurisdictions of parliament are
the ancient and undoubted birthright of Englishmen, and that every
member has the right of freedom of speech. This protest they entered
upon their journals, upon which James lost all temper, ordered the
clerk to bring him the journals, erased the protestation with his own
hand, in presence of the judges and the council, and then dissolved
the parliament.

Nothing else of note occurred in this reign, except the prosecution of
the Spanish match, which was so odious to the nation that Buckingham,
to preserve his popularity, broke off the negotiations, and by a
system of treachery and duplicity as hateful as were his original
efforts to promote the match. War with Spain was the result of the
insult offered to the infanta and the court. An alliance was now made
with France, and Prince Charles married Henrietta Maria, daughter of
Henry IV. The Commons then granted abundant supplies for war, to
recover the Palatinate; and liberty of conscience was granted by the
monarch, on the demands of Richelieu, to the Catholics--so long and,
perseveringly oppressed.

[Sidenote: Death of James I.]

Shortly after, (March 27, 1625,) King James died at Theobalds, his
favorite palace, from a disease produced by anxiety, gluttony, and
sweet wines, after a reign in England of twenty-two years; and his
son, Charles I., before the breath was out of his body, was proclaimed
king in his stead.

The course pursued by James I. was adopted by his son; and, as their
reigns were memorable for the same struggle, we shall consider them
together until revolution gave the victory to the advocates of

Charles I. was twenty-five years of age when he began his reign. In a
moral and social point of view he was a more respectable man than his
father, but had the same absurd notions of the royal prerogative, the
same contempt of the people, the same dislike of constitutional
liberty, and the same resolution of maintaining the absolute power of
the crown, at any cost. He was moreover, perplexed by the same
embarrassments, was involved in debt, had great necessities, and was
dependent on the House of Commons for aid to prosecute his wars and
support the dignity of the crown. But he did not consider the changing
circumstances and spirit of the age, and the hostile and turbulent
nature of his people. He increased, rather than diminished, the odious
monopolies which irritated the nation during the reign of his father;
he clung to all the old feudal privileges; he retained the detestable
and frivolous Buckingham as his chief minister; and, when Buckingham
was assassinated, he chose others even more tyrannical and
unscrupulous; he insisted on taxing the people without their consent,
threw contempt on parliament, and drove the nation to rebellion. In
all his political acts he was infatuated, after making every allowance
for the imperfections of human nature. A wiser man would have seen the
rising storm, and might possibly have averted it. But Charles never
dreamed of it, until it burst in all its fury on his devoted head, and
consigned him to the martyr's grave. We pity his fate, but lament
still more his blindness. And so great was this blindness, that it
almost seems as if Providence had marked him out to be a victim on the
altar of human progress.

With the reign of Charles commences unquestionably the most exciting
period of English history, and a period to which historians have given
more attention than to any other great historical era, the French
Revolution alone excepted. The attempt to describe the leading events
in this exciting age and reign would be, in this connection, absurd;
and yet some notice of them cannot be avoided.

[Sidenote: The Struggle of Classes.]

For more than ten centuries, great struggles have been going on in
society between the dominant orders and sects. The victories gained by
the oppressed millions, over their different masters, constitute what
is called the Progress of Society. Defenders of the people have
occasionally arisen from orders to which they did not belong. When,
then, any great order defended the cause of the people against the
tyranny and selfishness of another order, then the people have
advanced a step in civil and social freedom.

When Feudalism weighed fearfully upon the people, "the clergy sought,
on their behalf, a little reason, justice, and humanity, and the poor
man had no other asylum than the churches, no other protectors than
the priests; and, as the priests offered food to the moral nature of
man, they acquired a great ascendency, and the preponderance passed
from the nobles to the clergy." By the aid of the church, royalty also
rose above feudalism, and aided the popular cause.

The church, having gained the ascendency, sought then to enslave the
kings of the earth. But royalty, borrowing help from humiliated nobles
and from the people, became the dominant power in Europe.

[Sidenote: Rise of Popular Power.]

In these struggles between nobles and the clergy, and between the
clergy and kings, the people had acquired political importance. They
had obtained a knowledge of their rights and of their strength; and
they were determined to maintain them. They liked not the tyranny of
either nobles, priests, or kings; but they bent all their energies to
suppress the power of the latter, since the two former had been
already humiliated.

The struggle of the people against royalty is preëminently the genius
of the English Revolution. It is to be doubted whether any king could
have resisted the storm of popular fury which hurled Charles from his
throne. But no king could have managed worse than he, no king could be
more unfortunately and unpropitiously placed; and his own imprudence
and folly hastened the catastrophe.

The House of Commons, which had acquired great strength, spirit, and
popularity during the reign of James, fully perceived the difficulties
and necessities of Charles, but made no adequate or generous effort to
relieve him from them. Some of the more turbulent rejoiced in them.
They knew that kings, like other men, were selfish, and that it was
not natural for people to part with their privileges and power without
a struggle, even though this power was injurious to the interests of
society. In the Middle Ages, barons, bishops, and popes had fought
desperately in the struggle of classes; and it was only from their
necessities that either kings or people had obtained what they
demanded. King Charles, no more than Pope Boniface VIII., would
surrender, as a boon to man, without compulsion, his supposed

[Sidenote: Quarrel between the King and the Commons.]

The king ascended his throne burdened by the debts of his father, and
by an expensive war, which the Commons incited, but would not pay for.
They granted him, to meet his difficulties and maintain his honor, the
paltry sum of one hundred and forty thousand pounds, and the duties of
tonnage and poundage, not for life, as was customary, but for a year.
Nothing could be more provoking to a young king. Of course, the money
was soon spent, and the king wanted more, and had a right to expect
more. But, if the Commons granted what the king required, he would be
made independent of them, and he would rule tyrannically, as the kings
of England did before him. So they resolved not to grant necessary
supplies to carry on the government, unless the king would part with
the prerogatives of an absolute prince, and those old feudal
privileges which were an abomination in the eyes of the people.
Charles was not the man to make such a bargain. Few kings, in his age,
would have seen its necessity. But necessity there was. Civil war was
inevitable, without a compromise, provided both parties were resolved
on maintaining their ground. But Charles fancied that the Commons
could be browbeaten and intimidated into submission; and, moreover, in
case he was brought into collision with his subjects, he fancied that
he was stronger than they, and could put down the spirit of
resistance. In both of these suppositions he was wrong. The Commons
were firm, and were stronger than he was, because they had the
sympathy of the people. They believed conscientiously, especially the
Puritans, that he was wrong; that God gave him no divine right to
enslave them, and that they were entitled, by the eternal principles
of justice, and by the spirit of the constitution, to civil and
religious liberty, in the highest sense of that term. They believed
that their rights were inalienable and absolute; that, among them,
they could not be taxed without their own consent; and that their
constitutional guardians, the Commons, should be unrestricted in
debate. These notions of the people were _ideas_. On ideas all
governments rest. No throne could stand a day unless the people felt
they owed it their allegiance. When the main support of the throne of
Charles was withdrawn, the support of popular ideas, and this support
given to the House of Commons, at issue with the sovereign, what could
he do? What could Louis XVI. do one hundred and fifty years
afterwards? What could Louis Philippe do in our times? A king, without
the loyalty of the people, is a phantom, a mockery, and a delusion,
unless he have physical force to sustain him; and even then armies
will rebel, if they feel they are not bound to obey, and if it is not
for their interest to obey.

Now Charles had neither _loyalty_ nor _force_ to hold him on his
throne. The agitations of an age of unprecedented boldness in
speculations destroyed the former; the House of Commons would not
grant supplies to secure the latter. And they would not grant
supplies, because they loved themselves and the cause of the people
better than they loved their king. In short, it was only by his
concessions that they would supply his necessities. He would not make
the concessions, and the contest soon ended in an appeal to arms.

[Sidenote: The Counsellors of Charles.]

But Charles was not without friends, and some of his advisers were men
of sagacity and talent. It is true they did not fully appreciate the
weakness of the king, or the strength of his enemies; but they saw his
distress, and tried to remove it. They, very naturally in such an age,
recommended violent courses--to grant new monopolies, to extort fines,
to exercise all his feudal privileges, to pawn the crown jewels, even,
in order to raise money; for money, at all events, he must have. They
advised him to arrest turbulent and incendiary members of the Commons,
to prorogue and dissolve parliaments, to raise forced loans, to impose
new duties, to shut up ports, to levy fresh taxes, and to raise armies
friendly to his cause. In short, they recommended unconstitutional
measures--measures which both they and the king knew to be
unconstitutional, but which they justified on the ground of necessity.
And the king, in his perplexity, did what his ministers advised. But
every person who was sent to the Tower, every new tax, every sentence
of the Star Chamber, every seizure of property, every arbitrary
command, every violation of the liberties of the people, raised up new
enemies to the king, and inflamed the people with new discontents.

[Sidenote: Death of Buckingham--Petition of Right.]

At first the Commons felt that they could obtain what they wanted--a
redress of grievances, if the king's favorite adviser and minister
were removed. Besides, they all hated Buckingham--peers, commons, and
people,--and all sought his downfall. He had no friends among the
people, as Essex had in the time of Elizabeth. His extravagance, pomp,
and insolence disgusted all orders; and his reign seemed to be an
insult to the nation. Even the people regarded him as an upstart,
setting himself above the old nobility, and enriching himself by royal
domains, worth two hundred eighty-four thousand three hundred and
ninety-five pounds. So the Commons violently attacked his
administration, and impeached him. But he was shielded by the king,
and even appointed to command an expedition to relieve La Rochelle,
then besieged by Richelieu. But he was stabbed by a religious fanatic,
by the name of Felton, as he was about to embark at Portsmouth. His
body was removed to London, and he was buried with great state in
Westminster Abbey, much lamented by the king, who lost his early
friend, one of the worst ministers, but not the worst man, which that
age despised, (1628.)

Meanwhile the indignant Commons persevered with their work. They
passed what is called the "Petition of Right,"--a string of
resolutions which asserted that no freeman ought to be detained in
prison, without being brought to trial, and that no taxes could be
lawfully levied, without consent of the Commons--the two great pillars
of the English constitution, yet truths involved in political
difficulty, especially in cases of rebellion. The personal liberty of
the subject is a great point indeed; and the act of _habeas corpus_,
passed in later times, is a great step in popular freedom; but, if
never to be suspended, no government could guard against conspiracy in
revolutionary times.

The Petition of Right, however, obtained the king's assent, though
unwillingly, grudgingly, and insincerely given; and the Commons,
gratified for once, voted to the king supplies.

But Charles had no notion of keeping his word, and soon resorted to
unconstitutional measures, as before. But he felt the need of able
counsellors. His "dear Steenie" was dead, and he knew not in whom to
repose confidence.

[Sidenote: Earl of Strafford.]

The demon of despotism raised up an agent in the person of Thomas
Wentworth, a man of wealth, talents, energy, and indomitable courage;
a man who had, in the early part of his career, defended the cause of
liberty; who had even suffered imprisonment sooner than contribute to
an unlawful loan, and in whom the hopes of the liberal party were
placed. But he was bribed. His patriotism was not equal to his
ambition. Seduced by a peerage, and by the love of power, he went over
to the side of the king, and defended his arbitrary rule as zealously
as he had before advocated the cause of constitutional liberty. He was
created Viscount Wentworth, and afterwards earl of Strafford--the most
prominent man of the royalist party, and the greatest traitor to the
cause of liberty which England had ever known. His picture, as painted
by Vandyke, and hung up in the princely hall of his descendant, Earl
Fitzwilliam, is a faithful portrait of what history represents him--a
cold, dark, repulsive, unscrupulous tyrant, with an eye capable of
reading the secrets of the soul, a brow lowering with care and
thought, and a lip compressed with determination, and twisted into
contempt of mankind. If Wentworth did not love his countrymen, he
loved to rule over them: and he gained his end, and continued the
prime minister of absolutism until an insulted nation rose in their
might, and placed his head upon the block.

[Sidenote: John Hampden.]

Under the rule of this minister, whom every one feared, the Puritans
every where fled, preferring the deserts of America, with freedom, to
the fair lands of England, with liberty trodden under foot. The reigns
of both James and Charles are memorable for the resistance and despair
of this intrepid and religious sect, in which were enrolled some of
the finest minds and most intelligent patriots of the country. Pym,
Cromwell, Hazelrig, and even Hampden, are said to have actually
embarked; but Providence detained them in England, they having a
mission of blood to perform there. In another chapter, the Puritans,
their struggles, and principles, will be more fully presented; and we
therefore, in this connection, abstain from further notice. It may,
however, be remarked, that they were the most inflexible enemies of
the king, and were determined to give him and his minister no rest
until all their ends were gained. They hated Archbishop Laud even more
intensely than they hated Wentworth; and Laud, if possible, was a
greater foe to religious and civil liberty. Strafford and Laud are
generally coupled together in the description of the abuses of
arbitrary power. The churchman, however, was honest and sincere, only
his views were narrow and his temper irritable. His vices were those
of the bigot--such as disgraced St. Dominic or Torquemada, but faults
which he deemed excellencies. He was an enthusiast in high churchism
and toryism; and his zeal in defence of royal prerogative and the
divine rights of bishops has won for him the panegyrics of his
friends, as well as the curses of his enemies. For Strafford, too,
there is admiration, but only for his talents, his courage, his
strength--the qualities which one might see in Milton's Satan, or in
Carlyle's picture gallery of heroes.

While the king and his minister were raising forced loans and
contributions, sending members of the House of Commons to the Tower,
fining, imprisoning, and mutilating the Puritans, a new imposition
called out the energies of a great patriot and a great man, John
Hampden--a fit antagonist of the haughty Wentworth. This new exaction
was a tax called _ship money_.

It was devised by Chief Justice Finch and Attorney-General Noy, two
subordinate, but unscrupulous tools of despotism, and designed to
extort money from the inland counties, as well as from the cities, for
furnishing ships--a demand that Elizabeth did not make, in all her
power, even when threatened by the Spanish Armada. Clarendon even
admits that this tax was not for the support of the navy, "but for a
spring and magazine which should have no bottom, and for an
everlasting supply on all occasions." And this the nation completely
understood, and resolved desperately to resist.

Hampden, though a wealthy man, refused to pay the share assessed on
him, which was only twenty shillings, deeming it an illegal tax. He
was proceeded against by the crown lawyers. Hampden appealed to a
decision of the judges in regard to the legality of the tax, and the
king permitted the question to be settled by the laws. The trial
lasted thirteen days, but ended in the condemnation of Hampden, who
had shown great moderation, as well as courage, and had won the favor
of the people. It was shortly after this that Hampden, as some
historians assert, resolved to leave England with his cousin Oliver
Cromwell. But the king prevented the ships, in which they and other
emigrants had embarked, from sailing. Hampden was reserved for new
trials and new labors.

[Sidenote: Insurrection in Scotland.]

About a month after Hampden's condemnation, an insurrection broke out
in Scotland, which hastened the crisis of revolution. It was produced
by the attempt of Archbishop Laud to impose the English liturgy on the
Scottish nation, and supplant Presbyterianism by Episcopacy. The
revolutions in Scotland, from the time of Knox, had been popular; not
produced by great men, but by the diffusion of great ideas. The people
believed in the spiritual independence of their church, and not in the
supremacy of a king. The instant, therefore, that the Episcopal
worship was introduced, by authority, in the cathedral of Edinburgh,
there was an insurrection, which rapidly spread through all parts of
the country. An immense multitude came to Edinburgh to protest against
the innovation, and crowded all the houses, streets, and halls of the
city. The king ordered the petitioners home, without answering their
complaints. They obeyed the injunction, but soon returned in greater
numbers. An organization of resistance was made, and a provisional
government appointed. All classes joined the insurgents, who, menaced,
but united, at last bound themselves, by a solemn league and covenant,
not to separate until their rights and liberties were secured. A vast
majority of all the population of Scotland--gentlemen, clergy,
citizens, and laborers, men, women, and children--assembled in the
church, and swore fealty to the covenant. Force, of course, was
necessary to reduce the rebels, and civil war commenced in Scotland.
But war increased the necessities of the king, and he was compelled to
make peace with the insurgent army.

Eleven years had now elapsed since the dissolution of the last
parliament, during which the king had attempted to rule without one,
and had resorted to all the expedients that the ingenuity of the crown
lawyers could suggest, in order to extort money. Imposts fallen into
desuetude, monopolies abandoned by Elizabeth, royal forests extended
beyond the limits they had in feudal times, fines past all endurance,
confiscations without end, imprisonments, tortures, and
executions,--all marked these eleven years. The sum for fines alone,
in this period, amounted to more than two hundred thousand pounds. The
forest of Rockingham was enlarged from six to sixty miles in circuit,
and the earl of Salisbury was fined twenty thousand pounds for
encroaching upon it. Individuals and companies had monopolies of salt,
soap, coals, iron, wine, leather, starch, feathers, tobacco, beer,
distilled liquors, herrings, butter, potash, linen cloth, rags, hops,
gunpowder, and divers other articles, which, of course, deranged the
whole trade of the country. Prynne was fined ten thousand pounds, and
had his ears cut off, and his nose slit, for writing an offensive
book; and his sufferings were not greater than what divers others
experienced for vindicating the cause of truth and liberty.

At last, the king's necessities compelled him to summon another
parliament. He had exhausted every expedient to raise money. His army
clamored for pay; and he was overburdened with debts.

[Sidenote: Long Parliament.]

On the 13th of April, 1640, the new parliament met. It knew its
strength, and was determined now, more than ever, to exercise it. It
immediately took the power into its own hands, and from remonstrances
and petitions it proceeded to actual hostilities; from the
denunciation of injustice and illegality, it proceeded to trample on
the constitution itself. It is true that the members were irritated
and threatened, and some of their number had been seized and
imprisoned. It is true that the king continued his courses, and was
resolved on enforcing his measures by violence. The struggle became
one of desperation on both sides--a struggle for ascendency--and not
for rights.

One of the first acts of the House of Commons was the impeachment of
Strafford. He had been just summoned from Ireland, where, as lord
lieutenant, he had exercised almost regal power and regal audacity; he
had been summoned by his perplexed and desponding master to assist him
by his counsels. Reluctantly he obeyed, foreseeing the storm. He had
scarcely arrived in London when the intrepid Pym accused him of high
treason. The Lords accepted the accusation, and the imperious minister
was committed to the Tower.

The impeachment of Laud soon followed; but he was too sincere in his
tyranny to understand why he should be committed. Nor was he feared,
as Strafford was, against whom the vengeance of the parliament was
especially directed. A secret committee, invested with immense powers,
was commissioned to scrutinize his whole life, and his destruction was
resolved upon. On the 22d of March his trial began, and lasted
seventeen days, during which time, unaided, he defended himself
against thirteen accusers, with consummate ability. Indeed, he had
studied his charges and despised his adversaries. Under ordinary
circumstances, he would have been acquitted, for there was not
sufficient evidence to convict him of high treason; but an
unscrupulous and infuriated body of men were thirsting for his blood,
and it was proposed to convict him by bill of attainder; that is, by
act of parliament, on its own paramount authority, with or without the
law. The bill passed, in spite of justice, in spite of the eloquence
of the attainted earl. He was condemned, and remanded to the Tower.

Had the king been strong he would have saved his minister; had he been
magnanimous, he would have stood by him to the last. But he had
neither the power to save him, nor the will to make adequate
sacrifices. He feebly interposed, but finally yielded, and gave his
consent to the execution of the main agent of all his aggressions on
the constitution he had sworn to maintain. Strafford deserved his
fate, although the manner of his execution was not according to law.

[Sidenote: Rebellion of Ireland.]

A few months after the execution of Strafford, an event occurred which
proved exceedingly unfortunate to the royal cause; and this was the
rebellion of Ireland, and the massacre of the Protestant population,
caused, primarily, by the oppressive government of England, and the
harsh and severe measures of the late lord lieutenant. In the course
of a few weeks, the English and Scottish colonies seemed almost
uprooted; one of the most frightful butcheries was committed that ever
occurred. The Protestants exaggerated their loss; but it is probable
that at least fifty thousand were massacred. The local government of
Dublin was paralyzed. The English nation was filled with deadly and
implacable hostility, not against the Irish merely, but against the
Catholics every where. It was supposed that there was a general
conspiracy among the Catholics to destroy the whole nation; and it was
whispered that the queen herself had aided the revolted Irish. The
most vigorous measures were adopted to raise money and troops for
Ireland. The Commons took occasion of the general spirit of discontent
and insurrection to prepare a grand remonstrance on the evils of the
kingdom, which were traced to a "coalition of Papists, Arminian
bishops and clergymen, and evil courtiers and counsellors." The
Commons recited all the evils of the last sixteen years, and declared
the necessity of taking away the root of them, which was the arbitrary
power of the sovereign. The king, in reply, told the Commons that
their remonstrance was unparliamentary; that he could not understand
what they meant by a wicked party; that bishops were entitled to their
votes in parliament; and that, as to the removal of evil counsellors,
they must name whom they were. The remonstrance was printed and
circulated by the Commons, which was of more effect than an army could
have been.

Thus were affairs rapidly reaching a crisis, when the attempt to seize
five of the most refractory and able members of parliament consummated
it. The members were Hollis, Hazelrig, Pym, Hampden, and Strode; and
they were accused of high treason. This movement of the king was one
of the greatest blunders and one of the most unconstitutional acts he
ever committed. The Commons refused to surrender their members; and
then the king went down to the house, with an armed force, to seize
them. But Pym and others got intelligence of the design of Charles,
and had time to withdraw before he arrived. "The baffled tyrant
returned to Whitehall with his company of bravoes," while the city of
London sheltered Hampden and his friends. The shops were shut, the
streets were filled with crowds, and the greatest excitement
prevailed. The friends of Charles, who were inclined to constitutional
measures, were filled with shame. It was now feared that the king
would not respect his word or the constitution, and, with all his
promises, was still bent on tyrannical courses. All classes, but
bigoted royalists, now felt that something must be done promptly, or
that their liberties would be subverted.

Then it was, and not till then, that the Commons openly defied him,
while the king remained in his palace, humbled, dismayed, and
bewildered, "feeling," says Clarendon, "the trouble and agony which
usually attend generous minds upon their having committed errors;" or,
as Macaulay says, "the despicable repentance which attends the
bungling villain, who, having attempted to commit a crime, finds that
he has only committed a folly."

[Sidenote: Flight of the King from London.]

In a few days, the king fled from Whitehall, which he was never
destined to see again till he was led through it to the scaffold. He
went into the country to raise forces to control the parliament, and
the parliament made vigorous measures to put itself and the kingdom in
a state of resistance. On the 23d of April, the king, with three
hundred horse, advanced to Hull, and were refused admission by the
governor. This was tantamount to a declaration of war. It was so
considered. Thirty-two Lords, and sixty members of the Commons
departed for York to join the king. The parliament decreed an army,
and civil war began.

Before this can be traced we must consider the Puritans, which is
necessary in order fully to appreciate the Revolution. The reign of
Charles I. was now virtually ended, and that of the Parliament and
Cromwell had begun.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Rise of the Puritans.]

Dissensions among the Protestants themselves did not occur until the
reign of Elizabeth, and were first caused by difficulties about a
clerical dress, which again led to the advocacy of simpler forms of
worship, stricter rules of life, more definite forms of faith, and
more democratic principles of government, both ecclesiastical and
civil. The first promoters of these opinions were the foreign divines
who came from Geneva, at the invitation of Cranmer, of whom Peter
Martyr, Martin Bucer, John à Lasco, were the most distinguished. Some
Englishmen, also, who had been travelling on the continent, brought
with them the doctrines of Calvin. Among these was Hooper, who, on
being nominated to the bishopric of Gloucester, refused to submit to
the appointed form of consecration and admission. He objected to what
he called the _Aaronical_ habits--the square cap, tippet, and
surplice, worn by bishops. But dissent became more marked and
determined when the exiles returned to England, on the accession of
Elizabeth, and who were for advancing the reformation according to
their own standard. The queen and her advisers, generally, were
content with King Edward's liturgy; but the majority of the exiles
desired the simpler services of Geneva. The new bishops, most of whom
had been their companions abroad, endeavored to soften them for the
present, declaring that they would use all their influence at court to
secure them indulgence. The queen herself connived at non-conformity,
until her government was established, but then firmly declared that
she had fixed her standard, and insisted on her subjects conforming to
it. The bishops, seeing this, changed their conduct, explained away
their promises, and became severe towards their dissenting brethren.

The standard of the queen was the Thirty-Nine Articles. She admitted
that the Scriptures were the sole rule of faith, but declared that
individuals must interpret Scripture as expounded in the articles and
formularies of the English church, in violation of the great principle
of Protestantism, which even the Puritans themselves did not fully
recognize--the right and the duty of every individual to interpret
Scripture himself, whether his interpretation interfered with the
Established Church or not.

[Sidenote: Original Difficulties and Differences.]

The first dissenters did not claim this right, but only urged that
certain points, about which they felt scruples, should be left as
matters indifferent. On all essential points, they, as well as the
strictest conformists, believed in the necessity of a uniformity of
public worship, and of using the sword of the magistrate in defence of
their doctrines. The standard of conformity, according to the bishops,
was the queen's supremacy and the laws of the land; according to the
Puritans, the decrees of provincial and national synods.

At first, many of the Puritans overcame their scruples so far as to
comply with the required oath and accept livings in the Establishment.
But they indulged in many irregularities, which, during the first year
of the reign of Elizabeth, were winked at by the authorities. "Some
performed," says an old author, "divine service in the chancel, others
in the body of the church; some in a seat made in the church; some in
a pulpit, with their faces to the people; some keeping precisely to
the order of the book; some intermix psalms in metre; some say with a
surplice, and others without one. The table stands in the body of the
church in some places, in others it stands in the chancel; in some
places the table stands altarwise, distant from the wall a yard, in
others in the middle of the chancel, north and south. Some administer
the communion with surplice and cap, some with a surplice alone,
others with none; some with chalice, others with a communion cup,
others with a common cup; some with unleavened bread, and some with
leavened; some receive kneeling, others standing, others sitting; some
baptize in a font, some in a basin; some sign with the sign of the
cross, other sign not; some minister with a surplice, others without;
some with a square cap, others with a round cap; some with a button
cap, and some with a hat, some in scholar's clothes, some in common

These differences in public worship, which, by many, were considered
as indifferent matters, and by others were unduly magnified, seem to
have constituted the chief peculiarity of the early Puritans. In
regard to the queen's supremacy, the union of church and state, the
necessity of supporting religion by law, and articles of theological
belief, there was no disagreement. Most of the non-conformists were
men of learning and piety, and among the ornaments of the church.

The metropolitan bishop, at this time, was Parker, a great stickler
for the forms of the church, and very intolerant in all his opinions.
He and others of the bishops had been appointed as commissioners to
investigate the causes of dissent, and to suspend all who refused to
conform to the rubric of the church. Hence arose the famous Court of
the Ecclesiastical Commission, so much abused during the reigns of
James and Charles.

[Sidenote: Persecution during the Reign of Elizabeth.]

Under the direction of Parker, great numbers were suspended from their
livings for non-conformity, and sent to wander in a state of
destitution. Among these were some of the most learned men in the
church. They had no means of defence or livelihood, and resorted to
the press in order to vindicate their opinions. For this they were
even more harshly dealt with; an order was issued from the Star
Chamber, that no person should print a book against the queen's
injunctions, upon the penalty of fines and imprisonment; and authority
was given to church-wardens to search all suspected places where books
might be concealed. Great multitudes suffered in consequence of these
tyrannical laws.

But the non-conformists were further molested. They were forbidden to
assemble together to read the Scriptures and pray, but were required
to attend regularly the churches of the Establishment, on penalty of
heavy fines for neglect.

At length, worried, disgusted, and irritated, they resolved upon
setting up the Genevan service, and upon withdrawing entirely from the
Church of England. The separation, once made, (1566,) became wider and
wider, and the Puritans soon after opposed the claims of bishops as a
superior order of the clergy. They were opposed to the temporal
dignities annexed to the episcopal office to the titles and office of
archdeacons, deans, and chapters; to the jurisdiction of spiritual
courts; to the promiscuous access of all persons to the communion; to
the liturgy; to the prohibition, in the public service of prayer, by
the clergyman himself; to the use of godfathers and godmothers; to the
custom of confirmation; to the cathedral worship and organs; to
pluralities and non-residency; to the observance of Lent and of the
holy days; and to the appointment of ministers by the crown, bishops,
or lay patrons, instead of election by the people.

The schism was now complete, and had grown out of such small
differences as refusing to bow at the name of Jesus, and to use the
cross in baptism.

In our times, the Puritans would have been permitted to worship God in
their own way, but they were not thus allowed in the time of
Elizabeth. Religious toleration was not then understood or practised;
and it was the fault of the age, since the Puritans themselves, when
they obtained the power, persecuted with great severity the Quakers
and the Catholics. But, during the whole reign of Elizabeth,
especially the life of Archbishop Parker, they were in a minority, and
suffered--as minorities ever have suffered--all the miseries which
unreasonable majorities could inflict.

[Sidenote: Archbishops Grindal and Whitgift.]

Archbishop Grindal, who succeeded Parker in 1575, recommended milder
measures to the queen; but she had no charity for those who denied the
supremacy of her royal conscience.

Grindal was succeeded, in 1583, by Dr. Whitgift, the antagonist of the
learned Dr. Cartwright, and he proved a ruler of the church according
to her majesty's mind. He commenced a most violent crusade against the
non-conformists, and was so harsh, cruel, and unreasonable, that
Cecil--Lord Burleigh--was obliged to remonstrate, being much more
enlightened than the prelate. "I have read over," said he, "your
twenty-four articles, and I find them so curiously penned, that I
think that the Spanish Inquisition used not so many questions to
entrap the priests." Nevertheless fines, imprisonment, and the gibbet
continued to do their work in the vain attempt to put down opinions,
till within four or five years of the queen's death when there was a
cessation of persecution.

[Sidenote: Persecution under James.]

[Sidenote: Puritans in Exile.]

But the Scottish Solomon, as James was called, renewed the severity
which Elizabeth found it wise to remit. Hitherto, the Puritans had
been chiefly Presbyterians; but now the Independents arose, who
carried their views still further, even to wildness and radicalism.
They were stricter Calvinists, and inclined to republican views of
civil government. Consequently, they were still more odious than were
the Presbyterians to an arbitrary government. They were now persecuted
for their doctrines of faith, as well as for their forms of worship.
The Church of England retained the thirty-nine articles; but many of
her leading clergy sympathized with the views of Arminius, and among
them was the primate himself. So strictly were Arminian doctrines
cherished, that no person under a dean was permitted to discourse on
predestination, election, reprobation, efficacy, or universality of
God's grace. And the king himself would hear no doctrines preached,
except those he had condemned at the synod of Dort. But this act was
aimed against the Puritans, who, of all parties, were fond of
preaching on what was called "the Five Points of Calvinism." But they
paid dearly for their independence. James absolutely detested them,
regarded them as a sect insufferable in a well-governed commonwealth,
and punished them with the greatest severity. Their theological
doctrines, their notions of church government, and, above all, their
spirit of democratic liberty, were odious and repulsive. Archbishop
Bancroft, who succeeded Whitgift in 1604, went beyond all his
predecessors in bigotry, but had not their commanding intellects. His
measures were so injudicious, so vexatious, so annoying, so severe,
and so cruel, that the Puritans became, if possible, still more
estranged. With the popular discontents, and with the progress of
persecution, their numbers increased, both in Scotland and England.
With the increase of Puritanism was also a corresponding change in the
Church of England, since ceremony and forms increased almost to a
revival of Catholicism. And this reaction towards Rome, favored by the
court, incensed still more the Puritans, and led to language
unnecessarily violent and abusive on their side. Their controversial
tracts were pervaded with a spirit of bitterness and treason which, in
the opinion of James, fully justified the imprisonments, fines, and
mutilations which his minister inflicted. The Puritans, in despair,
fled to Holland, and from thence to New England, to establish, amid
its barren hills and desolate forests, that worship which alone they
thought would be acceptable to God. Persecution elevated them, and
none can deny that they were characterized by moral virtues and a
spirit of liberty which no people ever before or since exhibited.
Almost their only fault was intolerance respecting the opinions and
pleasures of many good people who did not join their ranks.

James's death did not remit their sufferings; but, by this time, they
had so multiplied that they became a party too formidable to be
crushed. The High Commission Court and the Star Chamber still filled
the prisons and pillories with victims; but every sentence of these
courts fanned the flame of discontent, and hastened the catastrophe
which was rapidly approaching. The volcano, over whose fearful brink
the royal family and the haughty hierarchy were standing, was now
sending forth those frightful noises which indicated approaching

During the years that Charles dispensed with the parliaments, when
Laud was both minister and archbishop, the persecution reached its
height, and also popular discontent. During this period, the greatest
emigration was made to New England, and even Hampden and Cromwell
contemplated joining their brethren in America. Arianism and Popery
advanced with Puritanism, and all parties prepared for the approaching
contest. The advocates of royal usurpation became more unreasonable,
the friends of popular liberty became more violent. Those who had the
power, exercised it without reflection. The history of the times is
simply this--despotism striving to put Puritanism and liberty beneath
its feet, and Puritanism aiming to subvert the crown.

But the greatest commotions were in Scotland, where the people were
generally Presbyterians; and it was the zeal of Archbishop Laud in
suppressing these, and attempting to change the religion of the land,
which precipitated the ruin of Charles I.

[Sidenote: Troubles in Scotland.]

Ever since the time of Knox, Scotland had been the scene of violent
religious animosities. In that country, the reformation, from the
first, had been a popular movement. It was so impetuous, and decided
under the guidance of the uncompromising Knox, that even before the
dethronement of Mary, it was complete. In the year 1592, through the
influence of Andrew Melville, the Presbyterian government was fairly
established, and King James is said to have thus expressed himself: "I
praise God that I was born in the time of the light of the gospel, and
in such a place as to be king of the purest kirk in the world." The
Church of Scotland, however, had severe struggles from the period of
its institution, 1560, to the year 1584, when the papal influence was
finally destroyed by the expulsion of the earl of Arran from the
councils of the young king. Nor did these struggles end even there.
James, perceiving that Episcopacy was much more consonant with
monarchy than Presbyterianism, attempted to remodel the Scottish
church on the English basis, which attempt resulted in discontent and
rebellion. James, however, succeeded in reducing to contempt the
general assemblies of the Presbyterian church, and in confirming
Archbishop Spotswood in the chief administration of ecclesiastical
affairs, which, it must be confessed, were regulated with great
prudence and moderation.

When Charles came to the throne, he complained of the laxity of the
Scotch primate, and sent him a set of rules by which he was to
regulate his conduct. Charles also added new dignities to his see, and
ordained that he, as primate, should take precedence over all the
temporal lords, which irritated the proud Scotch nobility. He moreover
contemplated the recovery of tithes and church lands for the benefit
of the Episcopal government, and the imposition of a liturgy on the
Scotch nation, a great majority of whom were Presbyterians. This was
the darling scheme of Laud, who believed that there could scarcely be
salvation out of his church, and which church he strove to make as
much like the Catholic as possible, and yet maintain independence of
the pope. But nothing was absolutely done towards changing the
religion of Scotland until Charles came down to Edinburgh (1633) to be
crowned, when a liturgy was prepared for the Scotch nation, subjected
to the revision of Laud, but which was not submitted to or seen by,
the General Assembly, or any convocation of ministers in Scotland.
Nothing could be more ill timed or ill judged than this conflict with
the religious prejudices of a people zealously attached to their own
forms of worship. The clergy united with the aristocracy, and both
with the people, in denouncing the conduct of the king and his
ministers as tyrannical and unjust. The canons, especially, which Laud
had prepared, were, in the eyes of the Scotch, puerile and
superstitious; they could not conceive why a Protestant prelate should
make so much account of the position of the font or of the communion
table, turned into an altar. Indeed, his liturgy was not much other
than an English translation of the Roman Missal, and excited the
detestation of all classes. Yet it was resolved to introduce it into
the churches, and the day was fixed for its introduction, which was
Easter Sunday, 1637. But such a ferment was produced, that the
experiment was put off to Sunday, 23d of July. On that day, the
archbishops and bishops, lords of session, and magistrates were all
present, by command, in the Church of St. Giles. But no sooner had the
dean opened the service book, and begun to read out of it, than the
people, who had assembled in great crowds, began to fill the church
with uproar. The bishop of Edinburgh, who was to preach, stepped into
the pulpit, and attempted to appease the tumultuous people. But this
increased the tumult, when an old woman, seizing a stool, hurled it at
the bishop's head. Sticks, stones, and dirt followed the stool, with
loud cries of "Down with the priest of Baal!" "A pape, a pape!"
"Antichrist!" "Pull him down!" This was the beginning of the
insurrection, which spread from city to village, until all Scotland
was in arms, and Episcopacy, as an established religion, was
subverted. In February, 1638, the covenant was drawn up in Edinburgh,
and was subscribed to by all classes, in all parts of Scotland; and,
in November, the General Assembly met in Glasgow, the first that had
been called for twenty years, and Presbyterianism was reëstablished in
the kingdom, if not legally, yet in reality.

From the day on which the Convocation opened, until the conquest of
the country by Cromwell, the Kirk reigned supreme, there being no
power in the government, or in the country, able or disposed to resist
or question its authority. This was the golden age of Presbyterianism,
when the clergy enjoyed autocratic power --a sort of Druidical
ascendency over the minds and consciences of the people, in affairs
temporal as well as spiritual.

[Sidenote: Peculiarities of Puritanism in England.]

Puritanism did not pervade the English, as it did the Scotch mind,
although it soon obtained an ascendency. Most of the great political
chieftains who controlled the House of Commons, and who clamored for
the death of Strafford and Laud, were Puritans. But they were not all
Presbyterians. In England, after the flight of the king from
Whitehall, the Independents attracted notice, and eventually seized
the reins of government. Cromwell was an Independent.

The difference between these two sects was chiefly in their views
about government, civil and ecclesiastical. Both Presbyterians and
Independents were rigid Calvinists, practised a severe morality, were
opposed to gay amusements, disliked organs and ceremonies, strictly
observed the Sabbath, and attached great importance to the close
observance of the Mosaic ritual. The Presbyterians were not behind the
Episcopalians in hatred of sects and a free press. They had their
model of worship, and declared it to be of divine origin. They looked
upon schism as the parent of licentiousness, insisted on entire
uniformity, maintained the divine right of the clergy to the
management of ecclesiastical affairs, and claimed the sword of the
magistrate to punish schismatics and heretics. They believed in the
union of church and state, but would give the clergy the ascendency
they possessed in the Middle Ages. They did not desire the entire
prostration of royal authority, but only aimed to limit and curtail

The Independents wished a total disruption of church and state, and
disliked synods almost as much as they did bishops. They believed that
every congregation was a distinct church, and had a right to elect the
pastor. They preferred the greatest variety of sects to the ascendency
of any one, by means of the civil sword. They rejected all spiritual
courts, and claimed the right of each church to reject, punish, or
receive members. In politics, they wished a total overthrow of the
government--monarchy, aristocracy, and prelacy; and were averse to any
peace which did not secure complete toleration of opinions, and the
complete subversion of the established order of things.

[Sidenote: Conflicts among the Puritans.]

Between the Presbyterians and the Independents, therefore, there could
not be any lasting sympathy or alliance. They only united to crush the
common foe; and, when Charles was beheaded, and Cromwell installed in
power, they turned their arms against each other.

The great religious contest, after the rise of Cromwell, was not
between the Puritans and the Episcopalians, but between the different
sects of Puritans themselves. At first, the Independents harmonized
with the Presbyterians. Their theological and ethical opinions were
the same, and both cordially hated and despised the government of the
Stuarts. But when the Presbyterians obtained the ascendency, the
Independents were grieved and enraged to discover that religious
toleration was stigmatized as the parent of all heresy and schism.
While in power, the Presbyterians shackled the press, and their
intolerance brought out John Milton's famous tract on the liberty of
unlicensed printing--one of the most masterly arguments which the
advocates of freedom have ever made. The idea that any dominant
religious sect should be incorporated with the political power, was
the fatal error of Presbyterianism, and raised up enemies against it,
after the royal power was suppressed. Cromwell was persuaded that the
cause of religious liberty would be lost unless Presbyterianism, as
well as Episcopacy, was disconnected with the state; and hence one
great reason of his assuming the dictatorship. And he granted a more
extended toleration than had before been known in England, although it
was not perfect. The Catholics and the Quakers were not partakers of
the boon which he gave to his country; so hard is it for men to learn
the rights of others, when they have power in their own hands.

[Sidenote: Character of the Puritans.]

The Restoration was a victory over both the Independents and the
general swarm of sectaries which an age of unparalleled religious
excitement had produced. It is difficult to conceive of the intensity
of the passions which inflamed all parties of religious disputants.
But if the Puritan contest developed fanatical zeal, it also brought
out the highest qualities of mind and heart which any age has
witnessed. With all the faults and weaknesses of the Puritans, there
never lived a better class of men,--men of more elevated piety, more
enlarged views, or greater disinterestedness, patriotism, and moral
worth. They made sacrifices which our age can scarcely appreciate, and
had difficulties to contend with which were unparalleled in the
history of reform. They made blunders which approximated to crimes,
but they made them in their inexperience and zeal to promote the cause
of religion and liberty. They were conscientious men--men who acted
from the fear of God, and with a view to promote the highest welfare
of future generations. They launched their bark boldly upon an unknown
sea, and heroically endured its dangers and sufferings, with a view of
conferring immortal blessings on their children and country. More
prudent men would have avoided the perils of an unknown navigation;
but, by such men, a great experiment for humanity would not have been
tried. It may have failed, but the world has learned immortal wisdom
from the failure. But the Puritans were not mere adventurers or
martyrs. They have done something of lasting benefit to mankind, and
they have done this by the power of faith, and by loyalty to their
consciences, perverted as they were in some respects. The Puritans
were not agreeable companions to the idle, luxurious, or frivolous;
they were rigid ever, to austerity; their expressions degenerated into
cant, and they were hostile to many innocent amusements. But these
were peculiarities which furnished subjects of ridicule merely, and
did not disgrace or degrade them. These were a small offset to their
moral wisdom, their firm endurance, their elevation of sentiment,
their love of liberty, and their fear of God. Such are the men whom
Providence ordains to give impulse to society, and effect great and
useful reforms.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now return to consider the changes which they attempted in
government. The civil war, of which Cromwell was the hero, now claims
our attention.

The refusal of the governor of Hull to admit the king was virtually
the declaration of war, for which both parties had vigorously

The standard of the king was first raised in Nottingham, while the
head-quarters of the parliamentarians were in London. The first action
of any note was the battle of Edge Hill, (October 23, 1642,) but was
undecisive. Indeed, both parties hesitated to plunge into desperate
war, at least until, by skirmishings and military manoeuvres, they
were better prepared for it.

The forces of the belligerents, at this period, were nearly equal but
the parliamentarians had the ablest leaders. It was the misfortune of
the king to have no man of commanding talents, as his counsellor,
after the arrest of Strafford. Hyde, afterwards lord chancellor, and
Earl of Clarendon, was the ablest of the royalist party. Falkland and
Culpeper were also eminent men; but neither of them was the equal of
Pym or Hampden.

[Sidenote: John Hampden.]

The latter was doubtless the ablest man in England at this time, and
the only one who could have saved it from the evils which afterwards
afflicted it. On him the hopes and affections of the nation centred.
He was great in council and great in debate. He was the acknowledged
leader of the House of Commons. He was eloquent, honest, unwearied,
sagacious, and prudent. "Never had a man inspired a nation with
greater confidence: the more moderate had faith in his wisdom; the
more violent in his devoted patriotism; the more honest in his
uprightness; the more intriguing in his talents." He spared neither
his fortune nor his person, as soon as hostilities were inevitable. He
subscribed two thousand pounds to the public cause, took a colonel's
commission, and raised a regiment of infantry, so well known during
the war for its green uniform, and the celebrated motto of its
intrepid leader,--"_Vestigia nulla retrorsum_." He possessed the
talents of a great statesman and a great general, and all the united
qualities requisite for the crisis in which he appeared--"the valor
and energy of Cromwell, the discernment and eloquence of Vane, the
humanity and moderation of Manchester, the stern integrity of Hale,
the ardent public spirit of Sydney. Others could conquer; he alone
could reconcile. A heart as bold as his brought up the cuirassiers who
turned the tide of battle on Marston Moor. As skilful an eye as his
watched the Scottish army descending from the heights over Dunbar. But
it was when, to the sullen tyranny of Laud and Charles, had succeeded
the fierce conflict of sects and factions, ambitious of ascendency,
and burning for revenge; it was when the vices and ignorance, which
the old tyranny had generated, threatened the new freedom with
destruction, that England missed that sobriety, that self-command,
that perfect soundness of judgment, that perfect rectitude of
intention, to which the history of revolutions furnishes no parallel,
or furnishes a parallel in Washington alone."[1]

               [Footnote 1: Macaulay.]

[Sidenote: Oliver Cromwell.]

This great man was removed by Providence from the scene of violence
and faction at an early period of the contest. He was mortally wounded
in one of those skirmishes in which the detachments of both armies had
thus far engaged, and which made the campaigns of 1642-3 so undecided,
so tedious, and so irritating--campaigns in which the generals of both
armies reaped no laurels, and which created the necessity for a
greater genius than had thus far appeared. That genius was Oliver
Cromwell. At the battle of Edge Hill he was only captain of a troop of
horse, and at the death of his cousin Hampden, he was only colonel. He
was indeed a member of the Long Parliament, as was Hampden, and had
secured the attention of the members in spite of his slovenly
appearance and his incoherent, though earnest speeches. Under his
rough and clownish exterior, his talents were not perceived, except by
two or three penetrating intellects; but they were shortly to appear,
and to be developed, not in the House of Commons, but on the field of
battle. The rise of Oliver Cromwell can scarcely be dated until the
death of John Hampden; nor were the eyes of the nation fixed on him,
as their deliverer, until some time after. The Earl of Essex was still
the commander of the forces, while the Earl of Bedford, Lord
Manchester, Lord Fairfax, Skippon, Sir William Waller, Leslie, and
others held high posts. Cromwell was still a subordinate; but genius
breaks through all obstacles, and overleaps all boundaries. The time
had not yet come for the exercise of his great military talents. The
period of negotiation had not fully passed, and the king, at his
head-quarters at Oxford, "that seat of pure, unspotted loyalty," still
hoped to amuse the parliament, gain time, and finally overwhelm its
forces. Prince Rupert--brave, ardent, reckless, unprincipled--still
ravaged the country without reaping any permanent advantage. The
parliament was perplexed and the people were disappointed. On the
whole, the king's forces were in the ascendant, and were augmenting;
while plots and insurrections were constantly revealing to the
parliamentarians the dangers which threatened them. Had not an able
leader, at this crisis, appeared among the insurgents, or had an able
general been given to Charles, it is probable that the king would have
secured his ends; for popular enthusiasm without the organization
which a master spirit alone can form, soon burns itself out.

[Sidenote: The King at Oxford.]

The state of the contending parties, from the battle of Edge Hill, for
nearly two years, was very singular and very complicated. The king
remained at Oxford, distracted by opposing counsels, and perplexed by
various difficulties. The head-quarters of his enemies, at London,
were no less the seat of intrigues and party animosities. The
Presbyterians were the most powerful, and were nearly as distrustful
of the Independents as they were of the king, and feared a victory
over the king nearly as much as they did a defeat by him, and the
dissensions among the various sects and leaders were no secret in the
royalist camp, and doubtless encouraged Charles in his endless
intrigues and dissimulations. But he was not equal to decisive
measures, and without them, in revolutionary times, any party must be
ruined. While he was meditating and scheming, he heard the news of an
alliance between Scotland and the parliament, in which the
Presbyterian interest was in the ascendency. This was the first great
blow he received since the commencement of the war, and the united
forces of his enemies now resolved upon more vigorous measures.

At the opening of the campaign, the parliament had five armies--that
of the Scots, of twenty-one thousand; that of Essex, ten thousand five
hundred; that of Waller, five thousand one hundred; that of
Manchester, fourteen thousand; and that of Fairfax, five thousand five
hundred--in all, about fifty-six thousand men, of whom the committee
of the two kingdoms had the entire disposal. In May, Essex and Waller
invested Oxford, while Fairfax, Manchester, and the Scots met under
the walls of York. Thus these two great royalist cities were attacked
at once by all the forces of parliament. Charles, invested by a
stronger force, and being deprived of the assistance of the princes,
Rupert and Maurice, his nephews, who were absent on their marauding
expeditions, escaped from Oxford, and proceeded towards Exeter. In the
mean time, he ordered Prince Rupert to advance to the relief of York,
which was defended by the marquis of Newcastle. The united royalist
army now amounted to twenty-six thousand men, with a numerous and well
appointed cavalry; and this great force obliged the armies of the
parliament to raise the siege of York. Had Rupert been contented with
this success, and intrenched himself in the strongest city of the
north of England, he and Newcastle might have maintained their ground;
but Rupert, against the advice of Newcastle, resolved on an engagement
with the parliamentary generals, who had retreated to Marston Moor, on
the banks of the Ouse, five miles from the city.

The next day after the relief of York was fought the famous battle of
Marston Moor, (July 2, 1644,) the bloodiest in the war, which resulted
in the entire discomfiture of the royalist forces, and the ruin of the
royal interests at the north. York was captured in a few days. Rupert
retreated to Lancashire to recruit his army, and Newcastle, disgusted
with Rupert, and with the turn affairs had taken, withdrew beyond
seas. The Scots soon stormed the town of Newcastle, and the whole
north of England fell into the hands of the victors.

[Sidenote: Cromwell after the Battle.]

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm of the Independents.]

This great battle was decided by the ability of Cromwell, now
lieutenant-general in the army of the parliament. He had distinguished
himself in all subordinate stations, in the field of battle, in
raising forces, and in councils of war, for which he had been promoted
to serve as second under the Earl of Manchester. But his remarkable
military genius was not apparent to the parliament until the battle of
Marston Moor, and on him the eyes of the nation now began to be
centred. He was now forty-five years of age, in the vigor of his
manhood, burning with religious enthusiasm, and eager to deliver his
country from the tyranny of Charles I., and of all kings. He was an
Independent and a radical, opposed to the Episcopalians, to the
Presbyterians, to the Scots, to all moderate men, to all moderate
measures, to all jurisdiction in matters of religion, and to all
authority in political affairs, which did not directly emanate from
the people, who were called upon to regulate themselves by their
individual reason. He was the idol of the Independent party, which now
began to gain the ascendency in that stormy crisis. For three years,
the Presbyterians had been in the ascendant, but had not realized the
hopes or expectations of the enthusiastic advocates of freedom. By
turns imperious and wavering, fanatical and moderate, they sought to
curtail and humble the king, not to ruin him; to depress Episcopacy,
but to establish another religion by the sword of the magistrate.
Their leaders were timid, insincere, and disunited; few among them had
definite views respecting the future government of the realm: and they
gradually lost the confidence of the nation. But the Independents
reposed fearlessly on the greatness and grandeur of their abstract
principles, and pronounced, without a scruple, those potent words
which kindled a popular enthusiasm--equality of rights, the just
distribution of property, and the removal of all abuses. Above all,
they were enthusiasts in religion, as well as in liberty, and devoutly
attached to the doctrines of Calvin. They abominated all pleasures and
pursuits which diverted their minds from the contemplation of God, or
the reality of a future state. Cromwell himself lived in the ecstasy
of religious excitement. His language was the language of the Bible,
and its solemn truths were not dogmas, but convictions to his ardent
mind. In the ardor of his zeal and the frenzy of his hopes, he fondly
fancied that the people of England were to rise in simultaneous
confederation, shake off all the old shackles of priests and kings,
and be governed in all their actions, by the principles of the Bible.
A sort of Jewish theocracy was to be restored on earth, and he was to
be the organ of the divine will, as was Joshua of old, when he led the
Israelites against the pagan inhabitants of the promised land. Up to
this time, no inconsistencies disgraced him. His prayers and his
exhortations were in accordance with his actions, and the most
scrutinizing malignity could attribute nothing to him but sincerity
and ardor in the cause which he had so warmly espoused. As magistrate,
as member of parliament, as farmer, or as general, he slighted no
religious duties, and was devoted to the apparent interests of
England. Such a man, so fervent, enthusiastic, honest, patriotic, and
able, of course was pointed out as a future leader, especially when
his great military talents were observed at Marston Moor. From the
memorable 2d of July he became the most marked and influential man in
England. Hampden had offered up his life as a martyr, and Pym, the
great lawyer and statesman, had died from exhaustion. Essex had won no
victory commensurate with the public expectations, and Waller lost his
army by desertions and indecisive measures. Both Essex and Manchester,
with their large estates, their aristocratic connections, and their
Presbyterian sympathies, were afraid of treating the king too well.
The battle of Newbury, which shortly after was gained by the
parliamentarians, was without decisive results, in consequence of the
indecision of Manchester. The parliament and the nation looked for
another leader, who would pursue his advantages, and adopt more
vigorous measures. At this point, the Presbyterians would have made
peace with the king, who still continued his insincere negotiations;
but it was too late. The Independents had gained the ascendency, and
their voice was for war--no more dallying, no more treaties, no more
half measures, but uncompromising war. It was plain that either the
king or the Independents must be the absolute rulers of England.

Then was passed (April 3, 1645) the famous Self-Denying Ordinance, by
which all members of parliament were excluded from command in the
army, an act designed to get rid of Essex and Manchester, and prepare
the way for the elevation of Cromwell. Sir Thomas Fairfax was
appointed to the supreme command, and Cromwell was despatched into the
inland counties to raise recruits. But it was soon obvious that the
army could do nothing without him, although it was remodelled and
reënforced; and even Fairfax and his officers petitioned parliament
that Cromwell might be appointed lieutenant-general again, and
commander-in-chief of the horse; which request was granted, and
Cromwell rejoined the army, of which he was its hope and idol.

[Sidenote: Battle of Naseby.]

He joined it in time to win the most decisive battle of the war, the
battle of Naseby, June 14, 1645. The forces of both armies were nearly
balanced, and the royalists were commanded by the king in person,
assisted by his ablest generals. But the rout of the king's forces was
complete, his fortunes were prostrated, and he was driven, with the
remnants of his army, from one part of the kingdom to the other, while
the victorious parliamentarians were filled with exultation and joy.
Cromwell, however, was modest and composed, and ascribed the victory
to the God of battles, whose servant, he fancied, he preëminently was.

[Sidenote: Success of the Parliamentary Army.]

The parliamentary army continued its successes. Montrose gained the
battle of Alford; Bridgewater surrendered to Fairfax; Glasgow and
Edinburgh surrendered to Montrose; Prince Rupert was driven from
Bristol, and, as the king thought, most disgracefully, which
misfortune gave new joy to the parliament, and caused new
thanksgivings from Cromwell, who gained the victory. From Bristol, the
army turned southward, and encountered what royalist force there was
in that quarter, stormed Bridgewater, drove the royalist generals into
Cornwall, took Winchester, battered down Basing House, rich in
provisions, ammunition, and silver plate, and completely prostrated
all the hopes of the king in the south of England. Charles fled from
Oxford, secretly, to join the Scottish army.

By the 24th of June, 1646, all the garrisons of England and Wales,
except those in the north, were in the hands of the parliament. In
July, the parliament sent their final propositions to the king at
Newcastle, which were extremely humiliating, and which he rejected.
Negotiations were then entered into between the parliament and the
Scots, which were long protracted, but which finally ended in an
agreement, by the Scots, to surrender the king to the parliament, for
the payment of their dues. They accordingly marched home with an
instalment of two hundred thousand pounds, and the king was given up,
not to the Independents, but to the Commissioners of parliament, in
which body the Presbyterian interest predominated.

At this juncture, (January, 1647,) Cromwell, rather than the king, was
in danger of losing his head. The Presbyterians, who did not wish to
abolish royalty, but establish uniformity with their mode of worship,
began to be extremely jealous of the Independents, who were bent on
more complete toleration of opinions, and who aimed at a total
overthrow of many of the old institutions of the country. So soon as
the king was humbled, and in their hands, it was proposed to disband
the army which had gloriously finished the war, and which was chiefly
composed of the Independents, and to create a new one on a
Presbyterian model. The excuse was, that the contest was ended, while,
indeed, the royalists were rather dispersed and humbled, than subdued.
It was voted that, in the reduced army, no one should have, except
Fairfax, a higher rank than colonel, a measure aimed directly at
Cromwell, now both feared and distrusted by the Presbyterians. But the
army refused to be disbanded without payment of its arrears, and,
moreover, marched upon London, in spite of the vote of the parliament
that it should not come within twenty-five miles. Several irritating
resolutions were passed by the parliament, which only had the effect
of uniting the army more strongly together, in resistance against
parliament, as well as against the king. The Lords and Commons then
voted that the king should be brought nearer London, and new
negotiations opened with him, which were prevented from being carried
into effect by the seizure of the king at Holmby House, by Cornet
Joyce, with a strong party of horse belonging to Whalley's regiment,
probably at the instigation of Cromwell and Ireton. His majesty was
now in the hands of the army, his worst enemy, and, though treated
with respect and deference, was really guarded closely, and watched by
the Independent generals. The same day, Cromwell left London in haste,
and joined the army, knowing full well that he was in imminent danger
of arrest. He was cordially received, and forthwith the army resolved
not to disband until all the national grievances were redressed, thus
setting itself up virtually against all the constituted authorities.
Fairfax, Cromwell, Ireton, and Hammond, with other high officers, then
waited on the king, and protested that they had nothing to do with the
seizure of his person, and even invited him to return to Holmby House.
But the king never liked the Presbyterians, and was willing to remain
with the army instead, especially since he was permitted to have
Episcopal chaplains, and to see whomsoever he pleased.

[Sidenote: Seizure of the King.]

The generals of the army were not content with the seizure of his
majesty's person, but now caused eleven of the most obnoxious of the
Presbyterian leaders of parliament to be accused, upon which they hid
themselves, while the army advanced towards London. The parliament, at
first, made a show of resistance, but soon abandoned its course, and
now voted that the army should be treated with more respect and care.
It was evident now to all persons where the seat of power rested.

In the mean time, the king was removed from Newmarket to Kingston,
from Hatfield to Woburn Abbey, and thence to Windsor Castle, which was
the scene of new intrigues and negotiations on his part, and on the
part of parliament, and even on the part of Cromwell. This was the
last chance the king had. Had he cordially sided now with either the
Presbyterians or the Independents, his subsequent misfortunes might
have been averted. But he hated both parties, and trifled with both,
and hoped to conquer both. He was unable to see the crisis of his
affairs, or to adapt himself to it. He was incapable of fair dealing
with any party. His duplicity and dissimulation were fully made known
to Cromwell and Ireton by a letter of the king to his wife, which they
intercepted; and they made up their minds to more decided courses. The
king was more closely guarded; the army marched to the immediate
vicinity of London; a committee of safety was named, and parliament
was intimidated into the passing of a resolution, by which the city of
London and the Tower were intrusted to Fairfax and Cromwell. The
Presbyterian party was forever depressed, its leading members fled to
France, and the army had every thing after its own way. Parliament
still was ostensibly the supreme power in the land; but it was
entirely controlled by the Independent leaders and generals.

[Sidenote: Triumph of the Independents.]

The victorious Independents then made their celebrated proposals to
the king, as the Presbyterians had done before them; only the
conditions which the former imposed were more liberal, and would have
granted to the king powers almost as great as are now exercised by the
sovereign. But he would not accept them, and continued to play his
game of kingcraft.

Shortly after, the king contrived to escape from Windsor to the Isle
of Wight, with the connivance of Cromwell. At Carisbrook Castle, where
he quartered himself, he was more closely guarded than before. Seeing
this, he renewed his negotiations with the Scots, and attempted to
escape. But escape was impossible. He was now in the hands of men who
aimed at his life. A strong party in the army, called the _Levellers_,
openly advocated his execution, and the establishment of a republic;
and parliament itself resolved to have no further treaty with him. His
only hope was now from the Scots, and they prepared to rescue him.

Although the government of the country was now virtually in the hands
of the Independents and of the army, the state of affairs was
extremely critical, and none other than Cromwell could have extricated
the dominant party from the difficulties. In one quarter was an
imprisoned and intriguing king in league with the Scots, while the
royalist party was waiting for the first reverse to rise up again with
new strength in various parts of the land. Indeed, there were several
insurrections, which required all the vigor of Cromwell to suppress.
The city of London, which held the purse-strings, was at heart
Presbyterian, and was extremely dissatisfied with the course affairs
were taking. Then, again, there was a large, headstrong, levelling,
mutineer party in the army, which clamored for violent courses, which
at that time would have ruined every thing. Finally, the Scotch
parliament had voted to raise a force of forty thousand men, to invade
England and rescue the king. Cromwell, before he could settle the
peace of the country, must overcome all these difficulties. Who, but
he, could have triumphed over so many obstacles, and such apparent

The first thing Cromwell did was to restore order in England; and
therefore he obtained leave to march against the rebels, who had
arisen in various parts of the country. Scarcely were these subdued,
before he heard of the advance of the Scottish army, under the Duke of
Hamilton. A second civil war now commenced, and all parties witnessed
the result with fearful anxiety.

The army of Hamilton was not as large as he had hoped. Still he had
fifteen thousand men, and crossed the borders, while Cromwell was
besieging Pembroke, in a distant part of the kingdom. But Pembroke
soon surrendered; and Cromwell advanced, by rapid marches, against the
Scottish army, more than twice as large as his own. The hostile forces
met in Lancashire. Hamilton was successively defeated at Preston,
Wigan, and Warrington. Hamilton was taken prisoner at Uttoxeter,
August 25, 1648, and his invading army was completely annihilated.

[Sidenote: Cromwell Invades Scotland.]

Cromwell then resolved to invade, in his turn, Scotland itself, and,
by a series of military actions, to give to the army a still greater
ascendency. He was welcomed at Edinburgh by the Duke of Argyle, the
head of an opposing faction, and was styled "the Preserver of
Scotland." That country was indeed rent with most unhappy divisions,
which Lieutenant-General Cromwell remedied in the best way he could;
and then he rapidly retraced his steps, to compose greater
difficulties at home. In his absence, the Presbyterians had rallied,
and were again negotiating with the king on the Isle of Wight, while
Cromwell was openly denounced in the House of Lords as ambitious,
treacherous, and perfidious. Fairfax, his superior in command, but
inferior in influence, was subduing the rebel royalists, who made a
firm resistance at Colchester, and all the various parties were
sending their remonstrances to parliament.

Among these was a remarkable one from the regiments of Ireton,
Ingoldsby, Fleetwood, Whalley, and Overton, which imputed to
parliament the neglect of the affairs of the realm, called upon it to
proclaim the sovereignty of the people and the election of a supreme
magistrate, and threatened to take matters into their own hands. This
was in November, 1646; but, long before this, a republican government
was contemplated, although the leaders of the army had not joined in
with the hue and cry which the fanatical Levellers had made.

[Sidenote: Seizure of the King a Second Time.]

In the midst of the storm which the petition from the army had raised,
the news arrived that the king had been seized a second time, and had
been carried a prisoner to Hurst Castle, on the coast opposite the
island, where he was closely confined by command of the army.
Parliament was justly indignant, and the debate relative to peace was
resumed with redoubled earnestness. It is probable that, at this
crisis, so irritated was parliament against the army, peace would have
been made with the king, and the Independent party suppressed, had not
most decisive measures been taken by the army. A rupture between the
parliament and the army was inevitable. But Cromwell and the army
chiefs had resolved upon their courses. The mighty stream of
revolution could no longer be checked. Twenty thousand men had vowed
that parliament should be purged. On the morning of December 6,
Colonel Pride and Colonel Rich, with troops, surrounded the House of
Commons; and, as the members were going into the house, the most
obnoxious were seized and sent to prison, among whom were Primrose,
who had lost his ears in his contest against the crown, Waller,
Harley, Walker, and various other men, who had distinguished
themselves as advocates of constitutional liberty. None now remained
in the House of Commons but some forty Independents, who were the
tools of the army, and who voted to Cromwell their hearty thanks. "The
minority had now become a majority,"--which is not unusual in
revolutionary times,--and proceeded to the work, in good earnest,
which he had long contemplated.

[Sidenote: Trial of the King.]

This was the trial of the king, whose apartments at Whitehall were now
occupied by his victorious general, and whose treasures were now
lavished on his triumphant soldiers.

On the 17th of December, 1648, in the middle of the night, the
drawbridge of the Castle of Hurst was lowered, and a troop of horse
entered the yard. Two days after, the king was removed to Windsor. On
the 23d, the Commons voted that he should be brought to trial. On the
20th of January, Charles Stuart, King of England, was brought before
the Court of High Commission, in Westminster Hall, and placed at the
bar, to be tried by this self-constituted body for his life. In the
indictment, he was charged with being a tyrant, traitor, and murderer.
To such an indictment, and before such a body, the dignified but
unfortunate successor of William the Conqueror demurred. He refused to
acknowledge the jurisdiction of the court. But the solemn mockery of
the trial proceeded nevertheless, and on the 27th, sentence of death
was pronounced upon the prisoner--that prisoner the King of England, a
few years before the absolute ruler of the state. On January 30, the
bloody sentence was executed, and the soul of the murdered king
ascended to that God who pardons those who put their trust in him, in
spite of all their mistakes, errors, and delusions. The career of
Charles I. is the most melancholy in English history. That he was
tyrannical, that he disregarded the laws by which he swore to rule,
that he was narrow, and bigoted, that he was deceitful in his
promises, that he was bent on overturning the liberties of England,
and did not comprehend the wants and circumstances of his times, can
scarcely be questioned. But that he was sincere in his religion,
upright in his private life, of respectable talents, and good
intentions, must also be admitted. His execution, or rather his
martyrdom, made a deep and melancholy impression in all Christian
countries, and was the great blunder which the republicans made--a
blunder which Hampden would have avoided. His death, however, removed
from England a most dangerous intriguer, and, for a while, cemented
the power of Cromwell and his party, who now had undisputed ascendency
in the government of the realm. Charles's exactions and tyranny
provoked the resistance of parliament, and the indignation of the
people, then intensely excited in discussing the abstract principles
of civil and religious liberty. The resistance of parliament created
the necessity of an army, and the indignation of the people filled it
with enthusiasts. The army flushed with success, forgot its relations
and duties, and usurped the government it had destroyed, and a
military dictatorship, the almost inevitable result of revolution,
though under the name of a republic, succeeded to the despotism of the
Stuart kings. This republic, therefore, next claims attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--The standard Histories of England. Guizot's
     History of the English Revolution. Clarendon's History of
     the Rebellion. Forster's Life of the Statesmen of the
     Commonwealth. Neal's History of the Puritans. Macaulay's
     Essays. Lives of Bacon, Raleigh, Strafford, Laud, Hampden,
     and Cromwell. These works furnish all the common
     information. Few American students have the opportunity to
     investigate Thurlow's State Papers, or Rushworth,
     Whitelocke, Dugdale, or Mrs. Hutchinson.



[Sidenote: The Protectorate.]

On the day of the king's execution, January 30, 1649, the House of
Commons--being but the shadow of a House of Commons, yet ostensibly
the supreme authority in England--passed an act prohibiting the
proclamation of the Prince of Wales, or any other person, to be king
of England. On the 6th of February, the House of Peers was decreed
useless and dangerous, and was also dispensed with. On the next day,
royalty was formally abolished. The supreme executive power was vested
in a council of state of forty members, the president of which was
Bradshaw, the relative and friend of Milton, who employed his immortal
genius in advocating the new government. The army remained under the
command of Fairfax and Cromwell; the navy was controlled by a board of
admiralty, headed by Sir Harry Vane. A greater toleration of religion
was proclaimed than had ever been known before, much to the annoyance
of the Presbyterians, who were additionally vexed that the state was
separated entirely from the church.

The Independents pursued their victory with considerable moderation,
and only the Duke of Hamilton, and Lords Holland and Capel, were
executed for treason, while a few others were shut up in the Tower.
Never was so mighty a revolution accomplished with so little
bloodshed. But it required all the wisdom and vigor of Fairfax and
Cromwell to repress the ultra radical spirit which had crept into
several detachments of the army, and to baffle the movements which the
Scots were making in favor of Charles Stuart, who had already been
proclaimed king by the parliament of Scotland, and in Ireland by the
Marquis of Ormond.

[Sidenote: Storming of Drogheda and Wexford.]

The insurrection in Ireland first required the notice of the new
English government. Cromwell accepted the conduct of the war, and the
office of lord lieutenant. Dublin and Derry were the only places which
held out for the parliament. All other parts of the country were in a
state of insurrection. On the 15th of August, Cromwell and his
son-in-law, Ireton, landed near Dublin with an army of six thousand
foot and three thousand horse only; but it was an army of Ironsides
and Titans. In six months, the complete reconquest of the country was
effected. The policy of the conqueror was severe and questionable; but
it was successful. In the hope of bringing the war to a speedy
termination, Cromwell proceeded in such a way as to bring terror to
his name, and curses on his memory. Drogheda and Wexford were not only
taken by storm, but nearly the whole garrison, of more than five
thousand men, were barbarously put to the sword. The Irish quailed
before such a victor, and town after town hastened to make peace.
Cromwell's excuse for his undeniable cruelties was, the necessity of
the case, of which we may reasonably suppose him to be a judge.
Scotland was in array, and English affairs, scarcely settled, demanded
his presence in London. An imperfect conquest, on the principles of
Rousseau's philanthropy, did not suit the taste or the notions of
Cromwell. If he had consumed a few more months than he actually
employed, either in treaty-making with a deceitful though oppressed
people, or in battles on the principles of the military science then
in vogue, the cause of Independency would have been lost; and that
cause, associated with that of liberty, in the eyes of Cromwell, was
of more value than the whole Irish nation, or any other nation.
Cromwell was a devotee to a cause. Principles, with him, were every
thing; men were nothing in comparison. To advance the principles for
which he fought, he scrupled to use no means or instruments. In this
he may have erred. But this policy was the secret of his success. We
cannot justify his cruelties in war, because it is hard to justify the
war itself. But if we acknowledge its necessity, we should remember
that such a master of war as was Cromwell knew his circumstances
better than we do or can know. To his immortal glory it can be said
that he never inflicted cruelty when he deemed it unnecessary; that he
never fought for the love of fighting; and that he stopped fighting
when the cause for which he fought was won. And this is more than can
be said of most conquerors, even of those imbued with sentimental
horror of bloodshed. Our world is full of cant. Cromwell's language
sometimes sounds like it, especially when he speaks of the "hand of
the Lord" in "these mighty changes," who "breaketh the enemies of his
church in pieces."

When the conquest of Ireland was completed, Cromwell hastened to
London to receive the thanks of parliament and the acclamations of the
people; and then he hurried to Scotland to do battle with the Scots,
who had made a treaty with the king, and were resolved to establish
Presbyterianism and royalty. Cromwell now superseded Fairfax, and was
created captain-general of the forces of the commonwealth. Cromwell
passed the borders, reached Edinburgh without molestation, and then
advanced on the Scotch army of twenty-seven thousand men, under
Lesley, at Dunbar, where was fought a most desperate battle, but which
Cromwell gained with marvellous intrepidity and skill. Three thousand
men were killed, and ten thousand taken prisoners, and the hopes of
the Scots blasted. The lord-general made a halt, and the whole army
sang the one hundred and seventeenth psalm, and then advanced upon the
capital, which opened its gates. Glasgow followed the example; the
whole south of Scotland submitted; while the king fled towards the
Highlands, but soon rallied, and even took the bold resolution of
marching into England, while Cromwell was besieging Perth. Charles
reached Worcester before he was overtaken, established himself with
sixteen thousand men, but was attacked by Cromwell, was defeated, and
with difficulty fled. He reached France, however, and quietly rested
until he was brought back by General Monk.

[Sidenote: Battle of Worcester.]

With the battle of Worcester, September 3, 1651, which Cromwell called
his "crowning mercy," ended his military life. From that day to the
time when be became protector, the most noticeable point in his
history is his conduct towards the parliament. And this conduct is the
most objectionable part of his life and character; for in this he
violated the very principles he originally professed, and committed
the same usurpations which he condemned in Charles I. Here he was not
true to himself or his cause. Here he laid himself open to the censure
of all posterity; and although he had great excuses, and his course
has many palliations, still it would seem a mockery of all moral
distinctions not to condemn in him what we would condemn in another,
or what Cromwell himself condemned in the murdered king. It is true he
did not, at once, turn usurper, not until circumstances seemed to
warrant the usurpation--the utter impossibility of governing England,
except by exercising the rights and privileges of an absolute monarch.
On the principles of expediency, he has been vindicated, and will be
vindicated, so long as his cause is advocated by partisan historians,
or expediency itself is advocated as a rule of life.

[Sidenote: Policy of Cromwell.]

After the battle of Worcester, Cromwell lost, in a measure, his
democratic sympathies, and naturally, in view of the great excesses of
the party with which he had been identified. That he desired the
public good we cannot reasonably doubt; and he adapted himself to
those circumstances which seemed to advance it, and which a spirit of
wild democratic license assuredly did not. So far as it contributed to
overturn the throne of the Stuarts, and the whole system of public
abuses, civil and ecclesiastical, Cromwell favored it. But no further.
When it seemed subversive of law and order, the grand ends of all
civil governments, then he opposed it. And in this he showed that he
was much more conservative in his spirit than has often been supposed;
and, in this conservatism he resembled Luther and other great
reformers, who were not unreflecting incendiaries, as is sometimes
thought--men who destroy, but do not reconstruct. Luther, at heart,
was a conservative, and never sought a change to which he was not led
by strong inward tempests--forced to make it by the voice of his
conscience, which he ever obeyed, and loyalty to which so remarkably
characterized the early reformers, and no class of men more than the
Puritans. Cromwell abhorred the government of Charles, because it was
not a government which respected justice, and which set at defiance
the higher laws of God. It was not because Charles violated the
constitution, it was because he violated truth and equity, and the
nation's good, that he opposed him. Cromwell usurped his prerogatives,
and violated the English constitution; but he did not transgress those
great primal principles of truth, for which constitutions are made. He
looked beyond constitutions to abstract laws of justice; and it never
can be laid to his charge that he slighted these, or proved a weak or
wicked ruler. He quarrelled with parliament, because the parliament
wished to perpetuate its existence unlawfully and meanly, and was
moreover unwilling and unable to cope with many difficulties which
constantly arose. It may be supposed that Cromwell may thus have
thought: "I will not support the parliament, for it will not maintain
law; it will not legislate wisely or beneficently; it seeks its own,
not the nation's good. And therefore I take away its existence, and
rule myself; for I have the fear of God before my eyes, and am
determined to rule by his laws, and to advance his glory." Deluded he
was; blinded by ambition he may have been but he sought to elevate his
country; and his efforts in her behalf are appreciated and praised by
the very men who are most severe on his undoubted usurpation.

[Sidenote: The Rump Parliament.]

[Sidenote: Dispersion of the Parliament.]

Shortly after the Long Parliament was purged, at the instigation of
Cromwell, and had become the Rump Parliament, as it was derisively
called, it appointed a committee to take into consideration the time
when their powers should cease. But the battle of Worcester was fought
before any thing was done, except to determine that future parliaments
should consist of four hundred members, and that the existing members
should be returned, in the next parliament, for the places they then
represented. At length, in December, 1651, it was decided, through the
urgent entreaties of Cromwell, but only by a small majority, that the
present parliament should cease in November, 1654. Thus it was obvious
to Cromwell that the parliament, reduced as it was, and composed of
Independents, was jealous of him, and also was aiming to perpetuate
its own existence, against all the principles of a representative
government. Such are men, so greedy of power themselves, so censorious
in regard to the violation of justice by others, so blind to the
violation of justice by themselves. Cromwell was not the man to permit
the usurpation of power by a body of forty or sixty Independents,
however willing he was to assume it himself. Beside, the Rump
Parliament was inefficient, and did not consult the interests of the
country. There was general complaint. But none complained more
bitterly than Cromwell himself. Meeting Whitelock, who then held the
great seal, he said that the "army was beginning to have a strange
distaste against them; that their pride, and ambition, and
self-seeking; their engrossing all places of honor and profit to
themselves and their friends; their daily breaking into new and
violent parties; their delays of business, and design to perpetuate
themselves, and continue the power in their own hands; their meddling
in private matters between party and party, their injustice and
partiality; the scandalous lives of some of them, do give too much
ground for people to open their mouths against them; and unless there
be some power to check them, it will be impossible to prevent our
ruin." These things Whitelock admitted, but did not see how they could
be removed since both he and Cromwell held their commissions from this
same parliament, which was the supreme authority. But Cromwell thought
there was nothing to hope, and every thing to fear, from such a body
of men; that they would destroy what the Lord had done. "We all forget
God," said he, "and God will forget us. He will give us up to
confusion, and these men will help it on, if left to themselves." Then
he asked the great lawyer and chancellor, "What if a man should take
upon himself to be king?"--evidently having in view the regal power.
But Whitelock presented such powerful reasons against it, that
Cromwell gave up the idea, though he was resolved to destroy the
parliament. He then held repeated conferences with the officers of the
army, who sympathized with him, and who supported him. At last, while
parliament was about to pass an obnoxious bill, Cromwell hurried to
the House, taking with him a file of musketeers, having resolved what
he would do. These he left in the lobby, and, taking his seat,
listened a while to the discussion, and then rose, and addressed the
House. Waxing warm, he told them, in violent language, "that they were
deniers of justice, were oppressive, profane men, were planning to
bring in Presbyterians, and would lose no time in destroying the cause
they had deserted." Sir Harry Vane and Sir Peter Wentworth rose to
remonstrate, but Cromwell, leaving his seat, walked up and down the
floor, with his hat on, reproached the different members, who again
remonstrated. But Cromwell, raising his voice, exclaimed, "You are no
parliament. Get you gone. Give way to honester men." Then, stamping
with his feet, the door opened, and the musketeers entered, and the
members were dispersed, after giving vent to their feelings in the
language of reproach. Most of them wore swords, but none offered
resistance to the man they feared, and tamely departed.

Thus was the constitution utterly subverted, and parliament, as well
as the throne, destroyed. Cromwell published, the next day, a
vindication of his conduct, setting forth the incapacity, selfishness
and corruption of the parliament, in which were some of the best men
England ever had, including Sir Harry Vane, Algernon Sydney, and Sir
Peter Wentworth.

His next step was to order the continuance of all the courts of
justice, as before, and summon a new parliament, the members of which
were nominated by himself and his council of officers. The army, with
Cromwell at the head, was now the supreme authority.

The new parliament, composed of one hundred and twenty persons,
assembled on the 4th of July, when Cromwell explained the reason of
his conduct, and set forth the mercies of the Lord to England. This
parliament was not constitutional, since it was not elected by the
people of England, but by Cromwell, and therefore would be likely to
be his tool. But had the elections been left free, the Presbyterians
would have been returned as the largest party, and they would have
ruined the cause which Cromwell and the Independents sought to
support. In revolutions, there cannot be pursued half measures.
Revolutions are the contest between parties. The strongest party gains
the ascendency, and keeps it if it can--never by old, constituted
laws. In the English Revolution the Independents gained this
ascendency by their valor, enthusiasm, and wisdom. And their great
representative ruled in their name.

[Sidenote: Cromwell Assumes the Protectorship.]

The new members of parliament reappointed the old Council of State, at
the head of which was Cromwell, abolished the High Court of Chancery,
nominated commissioners to preside in courts of justice, and proceeded
to other sweeping changes, which alarmed their great nominator, who
induced them to dissolve themselves and surrender their trust into his
hands, under the title of Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and
Ireland. On the 16th of December, he was installed in his great
office, with considerable pomp, in the Court of Chancery, and the new
constitution was read, which invested him with all the powers of a
king. It, however, ordained that he should rule with the aid of a
parliament, which should have all the functions and powers of the old
parliaments, should be assembled within five months, should last three
years, and should consist of four hundred and sixty members. It
provided for the maintenance of the army and navy, of which the
protector was the head, and decided that the great officers of state
should be chosen by approbation of parliament. Religious toleration
was proclaimed, and provision made for the support of the clergy.

[Sidenote: The Dutch War.]

Thus was the constitution of the nation changed, and a republic
substituted for a monarchy, at the head of which was the ablest man of
his age. And there was need of all his abilities. England then was
engaged in war with the Dutch, and the internal state of the nation
demanded the attention of a vigorous mind and a still more vigorous

The Dutch war was prosecuted with great vigor, and was signalized by
the naval victories of Blake, Dean, and Monk over the celebrated Van
Tromp and De Ruyter, the Dutch admirals. The war was caused by the
commercial jealousies of the two nations, and by the unwillingness of
the Prince of Orange, who had married a daughter of Charles I., to
acknowledge the ambassador of the new English republic. But the
superiority which the English sailors evinced, soon taught the Dutch
how dangerous it was to provoke a nation which should be its ally on
all grounds of national policy, and peace was therefore honorably
secured after a most successful war.

The war being ended, the protector had more leisure to attend to
business at home. Sir Matthew Hale was made chief justice, and
Thurloe, secretary of state; disorganizers were punished; an
insurrection in Scotland was quelled by General Monk; and order and
law were restored.

Meanwhile, the new parliament, the first which had been freely elected
for fourteen years, soon manifested a spirit of opposition to
Cromwell, deferred to vote him supplies, and annoyed him all in its
power. Still he permitted the members to discuss trifling subjects and
waste their time for five months; but, at the earliest time the new
constitution would allow, he summoned them to the Painted Chamber,
made them a long speech, reminded them of their neglect in attending
to the interests of the nation, while disputing about abstract
questions, even while it was beset with dangers and difficulties, and
then dissolved them, (January 22, 1656.)

[Sidenote: Cromwell Rules without a Parliament.]

For the next eighteen months, he ruled without a parliament and found
no difficulty in raising supplies, and supporting his now unlimited
power. During this time, he suppressed a dangerous insurrection in
England itself, and carried on a successful and brilliant war against
Spain, a power which he hated with all the capacity of hatred of which
his nation has shown itself occasionally so capable. In the naval war
with Spain, Blake was again the hero. During the contest the rich
island of Jamaica was conquered from the Spanish, a possession which
England has ever since greatly valued.

Encouraged by his successes, Cromwell now called a third parliament,
which he opened the 17th of September, 1656, after ejecting one
hundred of the members, on account of their political sentiments. The
new House voted for the prosecution of the Spanish war, granted ample
supplies, and offered to Cromwell the title of king. But his council
violently opposed it, and Cromwell found it expedient to relinquish
this object of his heart. But his protectorate was continued to him,
and he was empowered to nominate his successor.

In a short time, however, the spirit of the new parliament was
manifested, not only by violent opposition to the protector, but in
acts which would, if carried out, have subverted the government again,
and have plunged England in anarchy. It was plain that the protector
could not rule with a real representation of the nation. So he
dissolved it; and thus ended the last effort of Cromwell to rule with
a parliament; or, as his advocates say, to restore the constitution of
his country. It was plain that there was too much party animosity and
party ambition to permit the protector, shackled by the law, to carry
out his designs of order and good government. Self-preservation
compelled him to be suspicious and despotic, and also to prohibit the
exercise of the Catholic worship, and to curtail the religious rights
of the Quakers, Socinians, and Jews. The continual plottings and
political disaffections of these parties forced him to rule on a
system to which he was not at first inclined. England was not yet
prepared for the civil and religious liberty at which the advocates of
revolution had at first aimed.

So Cromwell now resolved to rule alone. And he ruled well. His armies
were victorious on the continent, and England was respected abroad,
and prospered at home. The most able and upright men were appointed to
office. The chairs of the universities were filled with illustrious
scholars, and the bench adorned with learned and honest judges. He
defended the great interests of Protestantism on the Continent, and
formed alliances which contributed to the political and commercial
greatness of his country. He generously assisted the persecuted
Protestants in the valleys of Piedmont, and refused to make treaties
with hostile powers unless the religious liberties of the Protestants
were respected. He lived at Hampton Court, the old palace of Cardinal
Wolsey, in simple and sober dignity; nor was debauchery or riot seen
at his court. He lived simply and unostentatiously, and to the last
preserved the form, and perhaps the spirit, of his early piety. He
surrounded himself with learned men, and patronized poets and
scholars. Milton was his familiar guest, and the youthful Dryden was
not excluded from his table. An outward morality, at least, was
generally observed, and the strictest discipline was kept at his

Had Cromwell's life been prolonged to threescore and ten, the history
of England might have been different for the next two hundred years.
But such was not his fortune. Providence removed him from the scene of
his conflicts and his heroism not long after the dissolution of his
last parliament. The death of a favorite daughter preyed upon his
mind, and the cares of government undermined his constitution. He died
on the 3d of September, 1658, the anniversary of his great battles of
Worcester and Dunbar, in the sixtieth year of his age.

Two or three nights before he died, he was heard to ejaculate the
following prayer, in the anticipation of his speedy departure; "Lord,
though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with
thee, through thy grace; and I may, I will come to thee, for thy
people. Thou hast made me, though very unworthy, a mean instrument to
do them good, and Thee service; and many of them have set too high
value upon me, though others wish and would be glad of my death. Lord,
however Thou disposest of me, continue and go on to do good to them.
Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and,
with the work of reformation, go on to deliver them, and make the name
of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on thy
instrument to depend more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to
trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are Thy people too. And
pardon the folly of this short prayer, even for Jesus Christ's sake.
And give me a good night, if it be Thy pleasure. Amen."

Thus closed the career of Oliver Cromwell, the most remarkable man in
the list of England's heroes. His motives and his honesty have often
been impeached, and sometimes by the most excellent and
discriminating, but oftener by heated partisans, who had no sympathy
with his reforms or opinions. His genius, however, has never been
questioned, nor his extraordinary talent, for governing a nation in
the most eventful period of its history. And there is a large class,
and that class an increasing one, not confined to Independents or
republicans, who look upon him as one habitually governed by a stern
sense of duty, as a man who feared God and regarded justice, as a man
sincerely devoted to the best interests of his country, and deserving
of the highest praises of all enlightened critics. No man has ever
been more extravagantly eulogized, or been the subject of more
unsparing abuse and more cordial detestation. Some are incapable of
viewing him in any other light than as a profound hypocrite and
ambitious despot, while others see in him nothing but the saint and
unspotted ruler. He had his defects; for human nature, in all
instances, is weak; but in spite of these, and of many and great
inconsistencies, from which no sophistry can clear him, his great and
varied excellences will ever entitle him to the rank accorded to him
by such writers as Vaughan and Carlyle.

[Sidenote: Regal Government Restored.]

With the death of Cromwell virtually ended the republic. "Puritanism
without its king, is kingless, anarchic, falls into dislocation,
staggers, and plunges into even deeper anarchy." His son Richard,
according to his will, was proclaimed protector in his stead. But his
reign was short. Petitions poured in from every quarter for the
restoration of parliament. It was restored, and also with it royalty
itself. General Monk advanced with his army from Scotland, and
quartered in London. In May, 1660, Charles II. was proclaimed king at
the gates of Westminster Hall. The experiment of a republic had been
tried, and failed. Puritanism veiled its face. It was no longer the
spirit of the nation. A great reaction commenced. Royalty, with new
but disguised despotism, resumed its sway.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Carlyle's, Dr. Vaughan's, and D'Aubigné's Life
     of Cromwell. Neal's History of the Puritans. Macaulay's
     History of England. Godwin's Commonwealth. The common
     histories of England. Milton's prose writings may be
     profitably read in this connection, and the various reviews
     and essays which have of late been written, on the character
     of Cromwell.



[Sidenote: The Restoration.]

[Sidenote: Great Public Rejoicings.]

Few events in English history have ever been hailed with greater
popular enthusiasm than the restoration of Charles II. On the 25th of
May, 1660, he landed near Dover, with his two brothers, the Dukes of
York and Gloucester. On the 29th of May, he made his triumphal entry
into London. It was his birthday, he was thirty years of age, and in
the full maturity of manly beauty, while his gracious manners and
captivating speech made him the favorite of the people, as well as of
the old nobility. The season was full of charms, and the spirits of
all classes were buoyant with hope. Every thing conspired to give a
glow to the popular enthusiasm. A long line of illustrious monarchs
was restored. The hateful fires of religious fanaticism were
apparently extinguished. An accomplished sovereign, disciplined in the
school of adversity, of brilliant talents, amiable temper, fascinating
manners, and singular experiences, had returned to the throne of his
ancestors, and had sworn to rule by the laws, to forget old offences,
and promote liberty of conscience. No longer should there be a
government of soldiers, nor the rule of a man hostile to those
pleasures and opinions which had ever been dear to the English people.
With the return of the exiled prince, should also return joy, peace,
and prosperity. For seventeen years, there had been violent political
and social animosities, war, tyranny, social restraints, and religious
fanaticism. But order and law were now to be reëstablished, and the
reign of cant and hypocrisy was now to end. Justice and mercy were to
meet together in the person of a king who was represented to have all
the virtues and none of the vices of his station and his times. So
people reasoned and felt, of all classes and conditions. And why
should they not rejoice in the restoration of such blessings? The ways
were strewn with flowers, the bells sent forth a merry peal, the
streets were hung with tapestries; while aldermen with their heavy
chains, nobles in their robes of pomp, ladies with their silks and
satins, and waving handkerchiefs, filling all the balconies and
windows; musicians, dancers, and exulting crowds,--all welcomed the
return of Charles. Never was there so great a jubilee in London; and
never did monarch receive such addresses of flattery and loyalty.
"Dread monarch," said the Earl of Manchester, in the House of Lords,
"I offer no flattering titles. You are the desire of three kingdoms,
the strength and stay of the tribes of the people." "Most royal
sovereign," said one of the deputations, "the hearts of all are filled
with veneration for you, confidence in you, longings for you. All
degrees, and ages, and sexes, high, low, rich and poor, men, women,
and children, join in sending up to Heaven one prayer, 'Long live King
Charles II.;' so that the English air is not susceptible of any other
sound, bells, bonfires, peals of ordnance, shouts, and acclamations of
the people bear no other moral; nor can his majesty conceive with what
joy, what cheerfulness, what lettings out of the soul, what
expressions of transported minds, a stupendous concourse of people
attended the proclamation of their most potent, most mighty, and most
undoubted king." Such was the adulatory language addressed by the
English people to the son of the king they had murdered, and to a man
noted for every frivolity and vice that could degrade a sovereign.
What are we to think of that public joy, and public sycophancy, after
so many years of hard fighting for civil and religious liberty? For
what were the battles of Naseby and Worcester? For what the Solemn
League and Covenant? For what the trial and execution of Charles I.?
For what the elevation of Cromwell? Alas! for what were all the
experiments and sufferings of twenty years, the breaking up of old and
mighty customs, and twenty years of blood, usurpation, and change?
What were the benefits of the Revolution? Or, had it no benefits? How
happened it that a whole nation should simultaneously rise and expel
their monarch from a throne which his ancestors had enjoyed for six
hundred years, and then, in so short a time, have elevated to this old
throne, which was supposed to be subverted forever, the son of their
insulted, humiliated, and murdered king? and this without bloodshed,
with every demonstration of national rejoicings, and with every
external mark of repentance for their past conduct. Charles, too, was
restored without any of those limitations by which the nation sought
to curtail the power of his father. The nation surrendered to him more
absolute power than the most ambitious kings, since the reign of John,
had ever claimed,--more than he ever dared to expect. How shall we
explain these things? And what is the moral which they teach?

[Sidenote: Reaction to Revolutionary Principles.]

One fact is obvious,--that a great reaction had taken place in the
national mind as to revolutionary principles. It is evident that a
great disgust for the government of Cromwell had succeeded the
antipathy to the royal government of Charles. All classes as ardently
desired the restoration, as they had before favored the rebellion.
Even the old parliamentarians hailed the return of Charles,
notwithstanding it was admitted that the protectorate was a vigorous
administration; that law and order were enforced; that religious
liberty was proclaimed; that the rights of conscience were respected;
that literature and science were encouraged; that the morals of the
people were purified; that the ordinances of religion were observed;
that vice and folly were discouraged; that justice was ably
administered; that peace and plenty were enjoyed; that prosperity
attended the English arms abroad; and that the nation was as much
respected abroad as it was prosperous at home. These things were
admitted by the very people who rejoiced in the restoration. And yet,
in spite of all these substantial blessings, the reign of Cromwell was
odious. Why was this?

It can only be explained on the supposition that there were
_unendurable evils_ connected with the administration of Cromwell,
which more than balanced the benefits he conferred; or, that
expectations were held out by Charles of national benefits greater
than those conferred by the republic; or, that the nation had so
retrograded in elevation of sentiment as to be unable to appreciate
the excellences of Cromwell's administration.

There is much to support all of these suppositions. In regard to the
evils connected with the republic, it is certain that a large standing
army was supported, and was necessary to uphold the government of the
protector, in order to give to it efficiency and character. This army
was expensive, and the people felt the burden. They always complain
under taxation, whether necessary or not. Taxes ever make any
government unpopular, and made the administration of Cromwell
especially so. And the army showed the existence of a military
despotism, which, however imperatively called for, or rendered
unavoidable by revolution, was still a hateful fact. The English never
have liked the principle of a military despotism. And it was a bitter
reflection to feel that so much blood and treasure had been expended
to get rid of the arbitrary rule of the Stuarts, only to introduce a
still more expensive and arbitrary government, under the name of a
republic. Moreover, the eyes of the people were opened to the moral
corruptions incident to the support of a large army, without which the
power of Cromwell would have been unsubstantial. He may originally
have desired to establish his power on a civil basis, rather than a
military one; but his desires were not realized. The parliaments which
he assembled were unpractical and disorderly. He was forced to rule
without them. But the nation could not forget this great insult to
their liberties, and to those privileges which had ever been dear to
them. The preponderance of the civil power has, for several centuries,
characterized the government; and no blessings were sufficiently great
to balance the evil, in the eye of an Englishman, of the preponderance
of a military government, neither the excellence of Cromwell's life,
nor the glory and greatness to which he raised the nation.

[Sidenote: Excellences in Charles's Government.]

Again, much was expected of Charles II., and there was much in his
character and early administration to produce content. His manners
were agreeable. He had no personal antipathies or jealousies. He
selected, at first, the wisest and best of all parties to be his
counsellors and ministers. He seemed to forget old offences. He was
fond of pleasure; was good-natured and affable. He summoned a free
parliament. His interests were made to appear identical with those of
the people. He promised to rule by the laws. He did not openly
infringe on the constitution. And he restored, what has ever been so
dear to the great body of the nation, the Episcopal Church in all its
beauty and grandeur, while he did not recommence the persecution of
Puritans until some time had elapsed from his restoration. Above all,
he disbanded the army, which was always distasteful to the
people,--odious, onerous, and oppressive. The civil power again
triumphed over that of the military, and circumstances existed which
rendered the subversion of liberty very difficult. Many adverse events
transpired during his unfortunate and disgraceful reign; but these, in
the early part of it, had not, of course, been anticipated.

[Sidenote: Failure of the Puritan Experiment.]

There is also force in the third supposition, that the nation had
retrograded in moral elevation. All writers speak of a strong reaction
to the religious fervor of the early revolutionists. The moral
influence of the army had proved destructive to the habits and
sentiments of the people. A strong love of pleasure and demoralizing
amusements existed, when Charles was recalled. A general laxity of
morals was lamented by the wisest and best of the nation. The
religious convictions of enthusiasts survived their sympathies.
Hypocrisy and cant succeeded fervor and honesty. Infidelity lurked in
many a bosom in which devotional ardor had once warmly burned.
Distrust of all philanthropy and all human virtue was as marked, as
faith in the same previously had been. The ordinances of religion
became irksome, and it was remembered with bitterness that the
Puritans, in the days of their ascendency, had cruelly proscribed the
most favorite pleasures and time-honored festivals of old England. But
the love of them returned with redoubled vigor. May-poles,
wrestling-matches, bear-baitings, puppet-shows, bowls, horse-racing,
betting, rope-dancing, romping under the mistletoe on Christmas,
eating boars' heads, attending the theatres, health-drinking,--all
these old-fashioned ways, in which the English sought merriment, were
restored. The evil was chiefly in the excess to which these pleasures
were carried; and every thing, which bore any resemblance to the
Puritans, was ridiculed and despised. The nation, as a nation, did not
love Puritanism, or any thing pertaining to it, after the deep
religious excitement had passed away. The people were ashamed of
prayer-meetings, of speaking through their noses, of wearing their
hair straight, of having their garments cut primly, of calling their
children by the name of Moses, Joshua, Jeremiah, Obadiah, &c.; and, in
short, of all customs and opinions peculiar to the Extreme Puritans.
So general was the disgust of Puritanism, so eager were all to indulge
in the pleasures that had been forbidden under the reign of Cromwell,
so sick were they of the very name of republicanism, that Puritanism
may be said to have proved, in England, a signal failure.

Such were some of the reasons of popular acclamation on the
restoration of Charles II., and which we cannot consider entirely
without force. A state of mind existed in England as favorable to the
encroachments of royalty, as, twenty years before, it had been

Charles was not a high-minded, or honest, or patriotic king; and
therefore we might naturally expect the growth of absolutism during
his reign. The progress of absolutism is, indeed, one of its features.
This, for a time, demands our notice.

On the restoration of Charles II., his subjects made no particular
stipulations respecting their liberties, which were incautiously
intrusted to his hands. But, at first, he did not seem inclined to
grasp at greater powers than what the constitution allowed him. He had
the right to appoint the great officers of state, the privilege of
veto on legislative enactments, the control of the army and navy, the
regulation of all foreign intercourse, and the right of making peace
and war. But the constitution did not allow him to rule without a
parliament, or to raise taxes without its consent. The parliament
might grant or withhold supplies at pleasure, and all money bills
originated and were discussed in the House of Commons alone. These
were the great principles of the English constitution, which Charles
swore to maintain.

[Sidenote: Repeal of the Triennial Bill.]

The first form in which the encroaching temper of the king was
manifested was, in causing the Triennial Bill to be repealed. This was
indeed done by the parliament, but through the royal influence. This
bill was not that a parliament should be assembled every three years,
but that the interval between one session and another should not
exceed that period. But this wise law, which had passed by acclamation
during the reign of Charles I., and for which even Clarendon had
voted, was regarded by Charles II. as subversive of the liberty of his
crown; and a supple, degenerate and sycophantic parliament gratified
his wishes.

About the same time was passed the Corporation Act, which enjoined all
magistrates, and persons of trust in corporations, to swear that they
believed it unlawful, under any pretence whatever to take arms against
the king. The Presbyterians refused to take this oath; and they were
therefore excluded from offices of dignity and trust. The act bore
hard upon all bodies of Dissenters and Roman Catholics, the former of
whom were most cruelly persecuted in this reign.

[Sidenote: Secret Alliance with Louis XIV.]

The next most noticeable effort of Charles to extend his power
independently of the law, was his secret alliance with Louis XIV. This
was not known to the nation, and even but to few of his ministers, and
was the most disgraceful act of his reign. For the miserable stipend
of two hundred thousand pounds a year, he was ready to compromise the
interests of the kingdom, and make himself the slave of the most
ambitious sovereign in Europe. He became a pensioner of France, and
yet did not feel his disgrace. Clarendon, attached as he was to
monarchy, and to the house of Stuart, could not join him in his base
intrigues; and therefore lost, as was to be expected, the royal favor.
He had been the companion and counsellor of Charles in the days of his
exile; he had attempted to enkindle in his mind the desire of great
deeds and virtues; he had faithfully served him as chancellor and
prime minister; he was impartial and incorruptible; he was as much
attached to Episcopacy, as he was to monarchy; he had even advised
Charles to rule without a parliament; and yet he was disgraced because
he would not comply with all the wishes of his unscrupulous master.
But Clarendon was, nevertheless, unpopular with the nation. He had
advised Charles to sell Dunkirk, the proudest trophy of the
Revolution, and had built for himself a splendid palace, on the site
of the present Clarendon Hotel, in Albemarle Street, which the people
called _Dunkirk House_. He was proud, ostentatious, and dictatorial,
and was bitterly hostile to all democratic influences. He was too good
for one party, and not good enough for the other, and therefore fell
to the ground; but he retired, if not with dignity, at least with
safety. He retreated to the Continent, and there wrote his celebrated
history of the Great Rebellion, a partial and bitter history, yet a
valuable record of the great events of the age of revolution which he
had witnessed and detested.

Charles received the bribe of two hundred thousand pounds from the
French king, with the hope of being made independent of his
parliament, and with the condition of assisting Louis XIV. in his
aggressive wars on the liberties of Europe, especially those of
Holland. He was, at heart an absolutist, and rejoiced in the victories
of the "Grand Monarch." But this supply was scarcely sufficient even
for his pleasures, much less to support the ordinary pomp of a
monarchy, and the civil and military powers of the state. So he had to
resort to other means.

[Sidenote: Venality and Sycophancy of Parliament.]

It happened, fortunately for his encroachments, but unfortunately for
the nation, that the English parliament, at that period, was more
corrupt, venal, base, and sycophantic than at any period under the
Tudor kings, or at any subsequent period under the Hanoverian princes.
The House of Commons made no indignant resistance; it sent up but few
spirited remonstrances; but tamely acquiesced in the measures of
Charles and his ministers. Its members were bought and sold with
unblushing facility, and even were corrupted by the agents of the
French king. One member received six thousand pounds for his vote.
Twenty-nine of the members received from five hundred to twelve
hundred pounds a year. Charles I. attempted to rule by opposition to
the parliament; Charles II. by corrupting it. Hence it was nearly
silent in view of his arbitrary spirit, his repeated encroachments,
and his worthless public character.

Among his worst acts was his shutting up the Exchequer, where the
bankers and merchants had been in the habit of depositing money on the
security of the funds, receiving a large interest of from eight to ten
per cent. By closing the Exchequer, the bankers, unable to draw out
their money, stopped payment; and a universal panic was the
consequence, during which many great failures happened. By this base
violation of the public faith, Charles obtained one million three
hundred thousand pounds. But it undermined his popularity more than
any of his acts, since he touched the pockets of the people. The
odium, however, fell chiefly on his ministers, especially those who
received the name of the _Cabal_, from the fact that the initials of
their names spelt that odious term of reproach, not unmerited in their

These five ministers were Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and
Lauderdale, and they were the great instruments of his tyranny. None
of them had the talents or audacity of Strafford, or the narrowness
and bigotry of Laud; but their counsels were injurious to the nation.

Clifford and Arlington were tolerably respectable but indifferent to
the glory and shame of their country; while Buckingham, Ashley, and
Lauderdale were profligate, unprincipled, and dishonest to a great
degree. They aided Charles to corrupt the parliament and deceive the
nation. They removed all restraints on his will, and pandered to his
depraved tastes. It was by their suggestion that the king shut up the
Exchequer. They also favored restrictions on the press.

[Sidenote: Restrictions on the Press.]

These restrictions were another abomination in the reign of Charles,
but one ever peculiar to a despotic government. No book could be
printed out of London, York, or the Universities. But these were not
made wholly with a view of shackling the mind, but to prevent those
libels and lampoons which made the government ridiculous in the eyes
of the people.

Nothing caused more popular indignation, during this reign, than the
Forfeiture of the Corporation of the City of London. The power of the
democracy resided, at this time, with the corporations, and as long as
they were actuated by the spirit of liberty, there was no prospect of
obtaining a parliament entirely subservient to the king. It was
determined to take away their charters; and the infamous Judge
Jeffreys was found a most subservient tool of royalty in undermining
the liberties of the country. The corporation of London, however,
received back its charter, after having yielded to the king the right
of conferring the appointments of mayor, recorder, and sheriffs.

Among other infringements on the constitution was the fining of jurors
when they refused to act according to the direction of the judges.
Juries were constantly intimidated, and their privileges were
abridged. A new parliament, moreover, was not convoked after three
years had elapsed from the dissolution of the old one, which
infringement was the more reprehensible, since the king had nothing to
fear from the new House of Commons, the members of which vied with
each other in a base compliancy with the royal will.

But their sycophancy was nothing compared with what the bishops and
clergy of the Established Church generally evinced. Absolute
non-resistance was inculcated from the pulpits, and the doctrine
ridiculed that power emanated from the people. The divine rights of
kings, and the divine ordination of absolute power were the themes of
divines, while Oxford proclaimed doctrines worthy of Mariana and the

Thus various influences contributed to make Charles II. absolute in
England--the Courts of Justice, the Parliaments, the Universities, and
the Church of England. Had he been as ambitious as he was fond of
pleasure, as capable of ruling as he was capable of telling stories at
the dinner table, he would, like Louis XIV., have reared an absolute
throne in England. But he was too easy, too careless, too fond of
pleasure to concentrate his thoughts on devising means to enslave his

[Sidenote: Habeas Corpus Act.]

It must not, however, be supposed that all his subjects were
indifferent to his encroachments, in spite of the great reaction which
had succeeded to liberal sentiments. Before he died, the spirit of
resistance was beginning to be seen, and some checks to royal power
were imposed by parliament itself. The Habeas Corpus Act, the most
important since the declaration of Magna Charta, was passed, and
through the influence of one of his former ministers, Ashley, now
become Earl of Shaftesbury, who took the popular side, after having
served all sides, but always with a view of advancing his own
interests, a man of great versatility of genius, of great sagacity,
and of varied learning. Had Charles continued much longer on the
throne, it cannot be doubted that the nation would have been finally
aroused to resist his spirit of encroachment, for the principles of
liberty had not been proclaimed in vain.

Charles II. was a tyrant, and one of the worst kings that ever sat on
the English throne. His leading defect was want of earnestness of
character, which made him indifferent to the welfare of his country.
England, during his reign, was reduced to comparative insignificance
in the eyes of foreigners, and was neither feared nor respected. Her
king was neither a powerful friend nor an implacable enemy, and left
the Continental Powers to pursue their own ends unmolested and
unrebuked. Most of the administrations of the English kings are
interlinked with the whole system of European politics. But the reign
of Charles is chiefly interesting in relation to the domestic history
of England. This history is chiefly the cabals of ministers, the
intrigues of the court, the pleasures and follies of the king, the
attacks he made on the constitution without any direct warfare with
his parliament and the system of religious persecution, which was most

The king was at heart a Catholic; and yet the persecution of the
Catholics is one of the most signal events of the times. We can
scarcely conceive, in this age, of the spirit of distrust and fear
which pervaded the national mind in reference to the Catholics. Every
calumny was believed. Every trifling offence was exaggerated, and by
nearly all classes in the community, by the Episcopalians, as well as
by the Presbyterians and the Independents.

[Sidenote: Titus Oates.]

The most memorable of all the delusions and slanders of the times was
produced by the perjuries of an unprincipled wretch called Titus
Oates, who took advantage of the general infatuation to advance his
individual interests. Like an artful politician, he had only to appeal
to a dominant passion or prejudice, and he was sure of making his
fortune. Like a cunning, popular orator, he had only to inflame the
passions of the people, and he would pass as a genius and a prophet.
Few are so abstractedly and coldly intellectual as not to be mainly
governed by their tastes or passions. Even men of strong intellect
have frequently strong prejudices, and one has only to make himself
master of these, in order to lead those who are infinitely their
superiors. There is no proof that all who persecuted the Catholics in
Charles's time were either weak or ignorant. But there is evidence of
unbounded animosity, a traditional hatred, not much diminished since
the Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes. The whole nation was ready to
believe any thing against the Catholics, and especially against their
church, which was supposed to be persecuting and diabolical in all its
principles and in all its practice. In this state of the popular mind,
Oates made his hideous revelations.

[Sidenote: Oates's Revelations.]

He was a broken-down clergyman of the Established Church, and had lost
caste for disgraceful irregularities. But he professed to hate the
Catholics, and such a virtue secured him friends. Among these was the
Rev. Dr. Tonge, a man very weak, very credulous, and full of fears
respecting the intrigues of the Catholics but honest in his fears.
Oates went to this clergyman, and a plan was concerted between them,
by which Oates should get a knowledge of the supposed intrigues of the
Church of Rome. He professed himself a Catholic, went to the
Continent, and entered a Catholic seminary, but was soon discharged
for his scandalous irregularities. But he had been a Catholic long
enough for his purposes. He returned to London, and revealed his
pretended discoveries, among which he declared that the Jesuits had
undertaken to restore the Catholic religion in England by force; that
they were resolved to take the king's life, and had actually offered a
bribe of fifteen thousand pounds to the queen's physician; that they
had planned to burn London, and to set fire to all the shipping in the
Thames; that they were plotting to make a general massacre of the
Protestants; that a French army was about to invade England; and that
all the horrors of St. Bartholomew were to be again acted over!
Ridiculous as were these assertions, they were believed, and without a
particle of evidence; so great was the national infatuation. The king
and the Duke of York both pronounced the whole matter a forgery, and
laughed at the credulity of the people, but had not sufficient
generosity to prevent the triumph of the libellers. But Oates's
testimony was not enough to convict any one, the law requiring two
witnesses. But, in such a corrupt age, false witnesses could easily be
procured. An infamous wretch, by the name of Bedloe, was bribed, a man
who had been imprisoned in Newgate for swindling. Others equally
unscrupulous were soon added to the list of informers, and no
calumnies, however gross and absurd, prevented the people from
believing them.

It happened that a man, by the name of Coleman, was suspected of
intrigues. His papers were searched, and some passages in them,
unfortunately, seemed to confirm the statements of Oates. To impartial
eyes, these papers simply indicated a desire and a hope that the
Catholic religion would be reëstablished, in view of the predilections
of Charles and James, and the general posture of affairs, just as some
enthusiastic Jesuit missionary in the valley of the Mississippi may be
supposed to write to his superior that America is on the eve of
conversion to Catholicism.

[Sidenote: Penal Laws against Catholics.]

But the general ferment was still more increased by the disappearance
of an eminent justice of the peace, who had taken the depositions of
Oates against Coleman. Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey was found dead, and
with every mark of violence, in a field near London, and was probably
murdered by some fanatical persons in the communion of the Church of
Rome. But if so, the murder was a great blunder. It was worse than a
crime. The whole community were mad with rage and fear. The old penal
laws were strictly enforced against the Catholics. The jails were
filled with victims. London wore the appearance of a besieged city.
The houses of the Catholics were every where searched, and two
thousand of them imprisoned. Posts were planted in the street, that
chains might be thrown across them on the first alarm. The military,
the train bands, and the volunteers were called out. Forty thousand
men were kept under guard during the night. Numerous patrols paraded
the streets. The gates of the Palace were closed, and the guards of
the city were doubled. Oates was pronounced to be the savior of his
country, lodged at Whitehall and pensioned with twelve hundred pounds
a year.

Then flowed more innocent blood than had been shed for a long period.
Catholics who were noble, and Catholics who were obscure, were alike
judicially murdered; and the courts of justice, instead of being
places of refuge, were disgraced by the foulest abominations. Every
day new witnesses were produced of crimes which never happened, and
new victims were offered up to appease the wrath of a prejudiced
people. Among these victims of popular frenzy was the Earl of
Stafford, a venerable and venerated nobleman of sixty-nine years of
age, against whom sufficient evidence was not found to convict him;
and whose only crime was in being at the head of the Catholic party.
Yet he was found guilty by the House of Peers, fifty-five out of
eighty-six having voted for his execution. He died on the scaffold,
but with the greatest serenity, forgiving his persecutors, and
compassionating their delusions. A future generation, during the reign
of George IV., however, reversed his attainder, and did justice to his
memory, and restored his descendants to their rank and fortune.

[Sidenote: Persecution of Dissenters.]

If no other illustrious victims suffered, persecution was nevertheless
directed into other channels. Parliament passed an act that no person
should sit in either House, unless he had previously taken the oath of
allegiance and supremacy, and subscribed to the declaration that the
worship of the Church of Rome was idolatrous. Catholics were disabled
from prosecuting a suit in any court of law, from receiving any
legacy, and from acting as executors or administrators of estates.
This horrid bill, which outlawed the whole Catholic population, had
repeatedly miscarried, but, under influence of the panic which Oates
and his confederates created, was now triumphantly passed. Charles
himself gave his royal assent because he was afraid to stem the
torrent of popular infatuation. And the English nation permitted one
hundred and thirty years to elapse before the civil disabilities of
the Catholics were removed, and then only by the most strenuous
exertions of such a statesman as Sir Robert Peel.

It is some satisfaction to know that justice at last overtook the
chief authors of this diabolical infatuation. During the reign of
James II., Oates and others were punished as they deserved. Oates's
credit gradually passed away. He was fined, imprisoned, and whipped at
the pillory until life itself had nearly fled. He died unlamented and
detested, leaving behind him, to all posterity an infamous notoriety.

But the sufferings of the Catholics, during this reign, were more than
exceeded by the sufferings of Dissenters, who were cruelly persecuted.
All the various sects of the Protestants were odious and ridiculous in
the eyes of the king. They were regarded as hostile in their
sympathies, and treasonable in their designs. They were fined,
imprisoned, mutilated, and whipped. An Act of Uniformity was passed,
which restored the old penal laws of Elizabeth, and which subjected
all to their penalty who did not use the Book of Common Prayer, and
adhere strictly to the ritual of the Church of England. The
oligarchical power of the bishops was restored, and two thousand
ministers were driven from their livings, and compelled to seek a
precarious support. Many other acts of flagrant injustice were passed
by a subservient parliament, and cruelly carried into execution by
unfeeling judges. But the religious persecution of dissenters was not
consummated until the reign of James under whose favor or direction
the inhuman Jeffreys inflicted the most atrocious crimes which have
ever been committed under the sanction of the law. But these will be
more appropriately noticed under the reign of James II. Charles was
not so cruel in his temper, or bigoted in his sentiments, as his
brother James. He was rather a Gallio than a persecutor. He would
permit any thing rather than suffer himself to be interrupted in his
pleasures. He was governed by his favorites and his women. He had not
sufficient moral elevation to be earnest in any thing, even to be a
bigot in religion. He vacillated between the infidelity of Hobbes and
the superstitions of Rome. He lived a scoffer, and died a Catholic.
His temper was easy, but so easy as not to prevent the persecution and
ruin of his best supporters, when they had become odious to the
nation. If he was incapable of enmity, he was also incapable of
friendship. If he hated no one with long-continued malignity, it was
only because it was too much trouble to hate perseveringly. But he
loved with no more constancy than he hated. He had no patriotism, and
no appreciation of moral excellence. He would rather see half of the
merchants of London ruined, and half of the Dissenters immured in
gloomy prisons, than lose two hours of inglorious dalliance with one
of his numerous concubines. A more contemptible prince never sat on
the English throne, or one whose whole reign was disgraced by a more
constant succession of political blunders and social crimes. And yet
he never fully lost his popularity, nor was his reign felt to be as
burdensome as was that of the protector, Cromwell, thus showing how
little the moral excellence of rulers is ordinarily appreciated or
valued by a wilful or blinded generation. We love not the rebukers of
our sins, or the opposers of our pleasures. We love those who prophesy
smooth things, and "cry peace, when there is no peace." Such is man in
his weakness and his degeneracy; and only an omnipotent power can
change this ordinary temper of the devotees to pleasure and inglorious

[Sidenote: Execution of Russell and Sydney.]

Among the saddest events during the reign of Charles, were the
executions of Lord Russell and Algernon Sydney. They were concerned,
with a few other great men, in a conspiracy, which had for its object
the restoration of greater liberty. They contemplated an insurrection,
known by the name of the _Rye House Plot_; but it was discovered, and
Russell and Sydney became martyrs. The former was the son of the Earl
of Bedford, and the latter was the brother of the Earl of Leicester.
Russell was a devoted Churchman, of pure morals, and greatly beloved
by the people. Sydney was a strenuous republican, and was opposed to
any particular form of church government. He thought that religion
should be like a divine philosophy in the mind, and had great
veneration for the doctrines of Plato. Nothing could save these
illustrious men. The Duke of York and Jeffreys declared that, if they
were not executed, there would be no safety for themselves. They both
suffered with great intrepidity, and the friends of liberty have ever
since cherished their memory with peculiar fondness.

[Sidenote: Manners and Customs of England.]

[Sidenote: Milton--Dryden.]

Mr. Macaulay, in his recent History, has presented the manners and
customs of England during the disgraceful reign of Charles II. It is
impossible, in this brief survey, to allude to all those customs; but
we direct particularly the attention of readers to them, as described
in his third chapter, from which it would appear, that a most manifest
and most glorious progress has been made since that period in all the
arts of civilization, both useful and ornamental. In those times,
travelling was difficult and slow, from the badness of the roads and
the imperfections of the carriages. Highwaymen were secreted along the
thoroughfares, and, in mounted troops, defied the law, and distressed
the whole travelling community. The transmission of letters by post
was tardy and unfrequent, and the scandal of coffee-houses supplied
the greatest want and the greatest luxury of modern times, the
newspaper. There was great scarcity of books in the country places,
and the only press in England north of the Trent seems to have been at
York. Literature was but feebly cultivated by country squires or
country parsons, and female education was disgracefully neglected. Few
rich men had libraries as large or valuable as are now common to
shopkeepers and mechanics; while the literary stores of a lady of the
manor were confined chiefly to the prayer-book and the receipt-book.
And those works which were produced or read were disgraced by
licentious ribaldry, which had succeeded religious austerity. The
drama was the only department of literature which compensated authors,
and this was scandalous in the extreme. We cannot turn over the pages
of one of the popular dramatists of the age without being shocked by
the most culpable indecency. Even Dryden was no exception to the rule;
and his poetry, some of which is the most beautiful in the language,
can hardly be put into the hands of the young without danger of
corrupting them. Poets and all literary men lived by the bounty of the
rich and great, and prospered only as they pandered to depraved
passions. Many, of great intellectual excellence, died from want and
mortification; so that the poverty and distress of literary men became
proverbial, and all worldly-wise people shunned contact with them as
expensive and degrading. They were hunted from cocklofts to cellars by
the minions of the law, and the foulest jails were often their only
resting-place. The restoration of Charles proved unfortunate to one
great and immortal genius, whom no temptations could assail, and no
rewards could bribe. He "possessed his soul in patience," and "soared
above the Aonian mount," amid general levity and profligacy. Had he
written for a pure, classic, and learned age, he could not have
written with greater moral beauty. But he lived when no moral
excellence was appreciated, and his claims on the gratitude of the
world are beyond all estimation, when we remember that he wrote with
the full consciousness, like the great Bacon, that his works would
only be valued or read by future generations. Milton was, indeed,
unmolested; but he was sadly neglected in his blindness and in his
greatness. But, like all the great teachers of the world, he was
sustained by something higher than earthly applause, and labored, like
an immortal artist, from the love which his labor excited,--labored to
realize the work of art which his imagination had conceived, as well
as to propagate ideas and sentiments which should tend to elevate
mankind. Dryden was his contemporary, but obtained a greater homage,
not because he was more worthy, but because he adapted his genius to
the taste of a frivolous and corrupt people. He afterwards wrote more
unexceptionably, composed lyrics instead of farces, and satires
instead of plays. In his latter days, he could afford to write in a
purer style; and, as he became independent, he reared the
superstructure of his glorious fame. But Dryden spent the best parts
of his life as a panderer to the vices of the town, and was an idol
chiefly, in Wills's Coffee House, of lampooners, and idlers, and
scandal-mongers. Nor were there many people, in the church or in the
state, sufficiently influential and noble to stem the torrent. The
city clergy were the most respectable, and the pulpits of London were
occupied with twelve men who afterwards became bishops, and who are
among the great ornaments of the sacred literature of their country.
Sherlock, Tillotson, Wake, Collier, Burnet, Stillingfleet, Patrick,
Fowler, Sharp, Tennison, and Beveridge made the Established Church
respected in the town; but the country clergy, as a whole, were
ignorant and depressed. Not one living in fifty enabled the incumbent
to bring up a family comfortably or respectably. The clergyman was
disdained even by the county attorney, was hardly tolerated at the
table of his patron, and could scarcely marry beyond the rank of a
cook or housekeeper. And his poverty and bondage continued so long
that, in the times of Swift, the parson was a byword and a jest among
the various servants in the households of the great. Still there were
eminent clergymen amid the general depression of their order, both in
and out of the Established Church. Besides the London preachers were
many connected with the Universities and Cathedrals; and there were
some distinguished Dissenters, among whom Baxter, Howe, and Alleine if
there were no others, would alone have made the name of Puritan

[Sidenote: Condition of the People.]

The saddest fact, in connection with the internal history of England,
at this time, was the condition of the people. They had small wages,
and many privations. They had no social rank, and were disgraced by
many vices. They were ignorant and brutal. The wages of laborers only
averaged four shillings a week, while those of mechanics were not
equal to what some ordinarily earn, in this country and in these
times, in a single day. Both peasants, and artisans were not only ill
paid, but ill used, and they died, miserably and prematurely, from
famine and disease. Nor did sympathy exist for the misfortunes of the
poor. There were no institutions of public philanthropy. Jails were
unvisited by the ministers of mercy, and the abodes of poverty were
left by a careless generation to be dens of infamy and crime. Such was
England two hundred years ago; and there is no delusion more
unwarranted by sober facts than that which supposes that those former
times were better than our own, in any thing which abridges the labors
or alleviates the miseries of mankind. "It is now the fashion to place
the golden age of England in times when noblemen were destitute of
comforts the want of which would be intolerable to a modern footman;
when farmers and shopkeepers breakfasted on loaves the very sight of
which would raise a riot in a modern workhouse, when men died faster
in the purest country air than they now die in the most pestilential
lanes of our towns; and when men died faster in the lanes of our towns
than they now die on the coast of Guinea. But we too shall, in our
turn, be outstripped, and, in our turn, envied. There is constant
improvement, as there also is constant discontent; and future
generations may talk of the reign of Queen Victoria as a time when
England was truly merry England, when all classes were bound together
by brotherly sympathy, when the rich did not grind the faces of the
poor, and when the poor did not envy the splendor of the rich."

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Of all the works which have yet appeared,
     respecting this interesting epoch, the new History of
     Macaulay is the most brilliant and instructive. Indeed, the
     student scarcely needs any other history, in spite of
     Macaulay's Whig doctrines. He may sacrifice something to
     effect; and he may give us pictures, instead of philosophy;
     but, nevertheless, his book has transcendent merit, and will
     be read, by all classes, so long as English history is
     prized. Mackintosh's fragment, on the same period, is more
     philosophical, and possesses very great merits. Lingard's
     History is very valuable on this reign, and should be
     consulted. Hume, also, will never cease to please. Burnet is
     a prejudiced historian, but his work is an authority. The
     lives of Milton, Dryden, and Clarendon should also be read
     in this connection. Hallam has but treated the
     constitutional history of these times. See also Temple's
     Works; the Life of William Lord Russell; Rapin's History.
     Pepys, Dalrymple, Rymeri Foedera, the Commons' Journal, and
     the Howell State Trials are not easily accessible, and not
     necessary, except to the historian.



[Sidenote: Accession of James II.]

Charles II. died on the 6th of February, 1685, and his brother, the
Duke of York, ascended his throne, without opposition, under the title
of _James II._ As is usual with princes, on their accession, he made
many promises of ruling by the laws, and of defending the liberties of
the nation. And he commenced his administration under good auspices.
The country was at peace, he was not unpopular, and all classes and
parties readily acquiesced in his government.

He retained all the great officers who had served under his brother
that he could trust; and Rochester became prime minister, Sunderland
kept possession of the Seals, and Godolphin was made lord chamberlain.
He did not dismiss Halifax, Ormond, or Guildford, although he disliked
and distrusted them, but abridged their powers, and mortified them by

The Commons voted him one million two hundred thousand pounds, and the
Scottish parliament added twenty-five thousand pounds more, and the
Customs for life. But this sum he did not deem sufficient for his
wants, and therefore, like his brother, applied for aid to Louis XIV.,
and consented to become his pensioner and vassal, and for the paltry
sum of two hundred thousand pounds. James received the money with
tears of gratitude, hoping by this infamous pension to rule the nation
without a parliament. It was not, of course, known to the nation, or
even to his ministers, generally.

He was scarcely crowned before England was invaded by the Duke of
Monmouth, natural son of Charles II., and Scotland by the Duke of
Argyle, with a view of ejecting James from the throne.

Both these noblemen were exiles in Holland, and both were justly
obnoxious to the government for their treasonable intentions and acts.
Argyle was loath to engage in an enterprise so desperate as the
conquest of England; but he was an enthusiast, was at the head of the
most powerful of the Scottish clans, the Campbells, and he hoped for a
general rising throughout Scotland, to put down what was regarded as
idolatry, and to strike a blow for liberty and the Kirk.

Having concerted his measures with Monmouth, he set sail from Holland,
the 2d of May, 1685, in spite of all the efforts of the English
minister, and landed at Kirkwall, one of the Orkney Islands. But his
objects were well known, and the whole militia of the land were put
under arms to resist him. He, however, collected a force of two
thousand five hundred Highlanders, and marched towards Glasgow; but he
was miserably betrayed and deserted. His forces were dispersed, and he
himself was seized while attempting to escape in disguise, brought to
Edinburgh, and beheaded. His followers were treated with great
harshness, but the rebellion was completely suppressed.

[Sidenote: Monmouth Lands in England.]

Monmouth had agreed to sail in six days from the departure of Argyle;
but he lingered at Brussels, loath to part from a beautiful mistress,
the Lady Henrietta Wentworth. It was a month before he set sail from
the Texel, with about eighty officers and one hundred and fifty
followers--a small force to overturn the throne. But he relied on his
popularity with the people, and on a false and exaggerated account of
the unpopularity of James. He landed at Lyme, in Dorsetshire, about
the middle of June, and forthwith issued a flaming proclamation,
inviting all to join his standard, as a deliverer from the cruel
despotism of a Catholic prince, whom he accused of every crime--of the
burning of London, of the Popish Plot, of the condemnation of Russell
and Sydney, of poisoning the late king, and of infringements on the
constitution. In this declaration, falsehood was mingled with truth,
but well adapted to inflame the passions of the people. He was
supported by many who firmly believed that his mother, Lucy Walters,
was the lawful wife of Charles II. He, of course, claimed the English
throne, but professed to waive his rights until they should be settled
by a parliament. The adventurer grossly misunderstood the temper of
the people, and the extent to which his claims were recognized. He was
unprovided with money, with generals, and with troops. He collected a
few regiments from the common people, and advanced to Somersetshire.
At Taunton his reception was flattering. All classes welcomed him as a
deliverer from Heaven, and the poor rent the air with acclamations and
shouts. His path was strewed with flowers, and the windows were
crowded with ladies, who waved their handkerchiefs, and even waited
upon him with a large deputation. Twenty-six lovely maidens presented
the handsome son of Charles II. with standards and a Bible, which he
kissed, and promised to defend.

[Sidenote: Battle of Sedgemoor.]

[Sidenote: Death of Monmouth.]

But all this enthusiasm was soon to end. The Duke of Albemarle--the
son of General Monk, who restored Charles II.--advanced against him
with the militia of the country, and Monmouth was supported only by
the vulgar, the weak, and the credulous. Not a single nobleman joined
his standard, and but few of the gentry. He made innumerable blunders.
He lost time by vain attempts to drill the peasants and farmers who
followed his fortunes. He slowly advanced to the west of England,
where he hoped to be joined by the body of the people. But all men of
station and influence stood aloof. Discouraged and dismayed, he
reached Wells, and pushed forward to capture Bristol, then the second
city in the kingdom. He was again disappointed. He was forced, from
unexpected calamities, to abandon the enterprise. He then turned his
eye to Wilts; but when he arrived at the borders of the county, he
found that none of the bodies on which he had calculated had made
their appearance. At Phillips Norton was a slight skirmish, which
ended favorably to Monmouth, in which the young Duke of Grafton,
natural son of Charles II., distinguished himself against his half
brother; but Monmouth was discouraged, and fell back to Bridgewater.
Meanwhile the royal army approached, and encamped at Sedgemoor. Here
was fought a decisive battle, which was fatal to the rebels, "the last
deserving the name of _battle_, that has been fought on English
ground." Monmouth, when all was lost, fled from the field, and
hastened to the British Channel, hoping to gain the Continent. He was
found near the New Forest, hidden in a ditch, exhausted by hunger and
fatigue. He was sent, under a strong guard, to Ringwood; and all that
was left him was, to prepare to meet the death of a rebel. But he
clung to life, so justly forfeited, with singular tenacity. He
abjectly and meanly sued for pardon from that inexorable tyrant who
never forgot or forgave the slightest resistance from a friend, when
even that resistance was lawful, much less rebellion from a man he
both hated and despised. He was transferred to London, lodged in the
Tower, and executed in a bungling manner by "Jack Ketch"--the name
given for several centuries to the public executioner. He was buried
under St. Peter's Chapel, in the Tower, where reposed the headless
bodies of so many noted saints and political martyrs--the great
Somerset, and the still greater Northumberland, the two Earls of
Essex, and the fourth Duke of Norfolk, and other great men who figured
in the reigns of the Plantagenets and the Tudors.

Monmouth's rebellion was completely suppressed, and a most signal
vengeance was inflicted on all who were concerned in it. No mercy was
shown, on the part of government, to any party or person.

Of the agents of James in punishing all concerned in the rebellion,
there were two, preëminently, whose names are consigned to an infamous
immortality. The records of English history contain no two names so
loathsome and hateful as Colonel Kirke and Judge Jeffreys.

The former was left, by Feversham, in command of the royal forces at
Bridgewater, after the battle of Sedgemoor. He had already gained an
unenviable notoriety, as governor of Tangier, where he displayed the
worst vices of a tyrant and a sensualist; and his regiment had
imitated him in his disgraceful brutality. But this leader and these
troops were now let loose on the people of Somersetshire. One hundred
captives were put to death during the week which succeeded the battle.
His irregular butcheries, however, were not according to the taste of
the king. A more systematic slaughter, under the sanctions of the law,
was devised, and Jeffreys was sent into the Western Circuit, to try
the numerous persons who were immured in the jails of the western

Sir George Jeffreys, Chief Justice of the Court of the King's Bench,
was not deficient in talent, but was constitutionally the victim of
violent passions. He first attracted notice as an insolent barrister
at the Old Bailey Court, who had a rare tact in cross-examining
criminals and browbeating witnesses. According to Macaulay, "impudence
and ferocity sat upon his brow, while all tenderness for the feelings
of others, all self-respect, all sense of the becoming, were
obliterated from his mind. He acquired a boundless command of the
rhetoric in which the vulgar express hatred and contempt. The
profusion of his maledictions could hardly be rivalled in the Fish
Market or Bear Garden. His yell of fury sounded, as one who often
heard it said, like the thunder of the judgment day. He early became
common serjeant, and then recorder of London. As soon as he obtained
all the city could give, he made haste to sell his forehead of brass
and his tongue of venom to the court." He was just the man whom
Charles II. wanted as a tool. He was made chief justice of the highest
court of criminal law in the realm, and discharged its duties entirely
to the satisfaction of a king resolved on the subjection of the
English nation. His violence, at all times, was frightful; but when he
was drunk, it was terrific: and he was generally intoxicated. His
first exploit was the judicial murder of Algernon Sydney. On the death
of Charles, he obtained from James a peerage, and a seat in the
Cabinet, a signal mark of royal approbation. In prospect of yet
greater honors, he was ready to do whatever James required. James
wished the most summary vengeance inflicted on the rebels, and
Jeffreys, with his tiger ferocity, was ready to execute his will.

[Sidenote: Brutality of Jeffreys.]

Nothing is more memorable than those "bloody assizes" which he held in
those counties through which Monmouth had passed. Nothing is
remembered with more execration. Nothing ever equalled the brutal
cruelty of the judge. His fury seemed to be directed with peculiar
violence upon the Dissenters. "Show me," said he, "a Presbyterian, and
I will show thee a lying knave. Presbyterianism has all manner of
villany in it. There is not one of those lying, snivelling, canting
Presbyterians, but, one way or another, has had a hand in the
rebellion." He sentenced nearly all who were accused, to be hanged or
burned; and the excess of his barbarities called forth pity and
indignation even from devoted loyalists. He boasted that he had hanged
more traitors than all his predecessors together since the Conquest.
On a single circuit, he hanged three hundred and fifty; some of these
were people of great worth, and many of them were innocent; while many
whom he spared from an ignominious death, were sentenced to the most
cruel punishments--to the lash of the pillory, to imprisonment in the
foulest jails, to mutilation, to banishment, and to heavy fines.

King James watched the conduct of the inhuman Jeffreys with delight,
and rewarded him with the Great Seal. The Old Bailey lawyer had now
climbed to the greatest height to which a subject could aspire. He was
Lord Chancellor of England--the confidential friend and agent of the
king, and his unscrupulous instrument in imposing the yoke of bondage
on an insulted nation.

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Dissenters.]

At this period, the condition of the Puritans was deplorable. At no
previous time was persecution more inveterate, not even under the
administration of Laud and Strafford. The persecution commenced soon
after the restoration of Charles II., and increased in malignity until
the elevation of Jeffreys to the chancellorship. The sufferings of no
class of sectaries bore any proportion to theirs. They found it
difficult to meet together for prayer or exhortation even in the
smallest assemblies. Their ministers were introduced in disguise.
Their houses were searched. They were fined, imprisoned, and banished.
Among the ministers who were deprived of their livings, were Gilpin,
Bates, Howe, Owen, Baxter, Calamy, Poole, Charnock, and Flavel, who
still, after a lapse of one hundred and fifty years, enjoy a
wide-spread reputation as standard writers on theological subjects.
These great lights of the seventeenth century were doomed to privation
and poverty, with thousands of their brethren, most of whom had been
educated at the Universities, and were among the best men in the
kingdom. All the Stuart kings hated the Dissenters, but none hated
them more than Charles II. and James II. Under their sanction,
complying parliaments passed repeated acts of injustice and cruelty.
The laws which were enacted during Queen Elizabeth's reign were
reënacted and enforced. The Act of Uniformity, in one day, ejected two
thousand ministers from their parishes, because they refused to
conform to the standard of the Established Church. The Conventicle Act
ordained that if any person, above sixteen years of age, should be
present at any religious meeting, in any other manner than allowed by
the Church of England, he should suffer three months' imprisonment, or
pay a fine of five pounds, that six months imprisonment and ten pounds
fine should be inflicted as a penalty for the second offence, and
banishment for the third. Married women taken at "conventicles," were
sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment. It is calculated that
twenty-five thousand Dissenters were immured in gloomy prisons, and
that four thousand of the sect of the Quakers died during their
imprisonment in consequence of the filth and malaria of the jails,
added to cruel treatment.

Among the illustrious men who suffered most unjustly, was Richard
Baxter, the glory of the Presbyterian party. He was minister at
Kidderminster, where he was content to labor in an humble sphere,
having refused a bishopric. He had written one hundred and forty-five
distinct treatises, in two hundred volumes, which were characterized
for learning and talent. But neither his age, nor piety, nor
commanding virtues could screen him from the cruelties of Jeffreys;
and, in fifteen years, he was five times imprisoned. His sufferings
drew tears from Sir Matthew Hale, with whose friendship he had been
honored. "But he who had enjoyed the confidence of the best of judges,
was cruelly insulted by the worst." When he wished to plead his cause,
the drunken chief justice replied, "O Richard, Richard, thou art an
old fellow and an old knave. Thou hast written books enough to load a
cart, every one of which is as full of sedition as an egg is full of
meat. I know that thou hast a mighty party, and I see a great many of
the brotherhood in corners, and a doctor of divinity at your elbow;
but, by the grace of God, I will crush you all."

Entirely a different man was John Bunyan, not so influential or
learned, but equally worthy. He belonged to the sect of the Baptists,
and stands at the head of all unlettered men of genius--the most
successful writer of allegory that any age has seen. The Pilgrim's
Progress is the most popular religious work ever published, full of
genius and beauty, and a complete exhibition of the Calvinistic
theology, and the experiences of the Christian life. This book shows
the triumph of genius over learning, and the people's appreciation of
exalted merit. Its author, an illiterate tinker, a travelling
preacher, who spent the best part of his life between the houses of
the poor and the county jails, the object of reproach and ignominy,
now, however, takes a proud place, in the world's estimation, with the
master minds of all nations--with Dante, Shakspeare, and Milton. He
has arisen above the prejudices of the great and fashionable; and the
learned and aristocratic Southey has sought to be the biographer of
his sorrows and the expounder of his visions. The proud bishops who
disdained him, the haughty judges who condemned him, are now chiefly
known as his persecutors, while he continues to be more honored and
extolled with every succeeding generation.

[Sidenote: George Fox.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Quakers.]

Another illustrious victim of religious persecution in that age,
illustrious in our eyes, but ignoble in the eyes of his
contemporaries, was George Fox, the founder of the sect of the
Quakers. He, like Bunyan, was of humble birth and imperfect education.
Like him, he derived his knowledge from communion with his own
soul--from inward experiences--from religious contemplations. He was a
man of vigorous intellect, and capable of intense intellectual action.
His first studies were the mysteries of theology--the great questions
respecting duty and destiny; and these agitated his earnest mind
almost to despair. In his anxiety, he sought consolation from the
clergy, but they did not remove the burdens of his soul. Like an old
Syriac monk, he sought the fields and unfrequented solitudes, where he
gave loose to his imagination, and where celestial beings came to
comfort him. He despised alike the reasonings of philosophers, the
dogmas of divines, and the disputes of wrangling sectarians. He rose
above all their prejudices, and sought light and truth from original
sources. His peace was based on the conviction that God's Holy Spirit
spoke directly to his soul; and this was above reason, above
authority, a surer guide than any outward or written revelation. While
this divine voice was above the Scriptures, it never conflicted with
them, for they were revealed also to inspired men. Hence the
Scriptures were not to be disdained, but were to be a guide, and
literally to be obeyed. He would not swear, or fight, to save his
life, nor to save a world, because he was directly commanded to
abstain from swearing and fighting. He abhorred all principles of
expediency, and would do right, or what the inspired voice within him
assured him to be right, regardless of all consequences and all
tribulations. He believed in the power of justice to protect itself,
and reposed on the moral dignity of virtue. Love, to his mind, was an
omnipotent weapon. He disdained force to accomplish important ends,
and sought no control over government, except by intelligence. He
believed that ideas and truth alone were at the basis of all great and
permanent revolutions; these he was ever ready to declare; these were
sure to produce, in the end, all needed reforms; these would be
revealed to the earnest inquirer. He disliked all forms and pompous
ceremonials in the worship of God, for they seemed useless and
idolatrous. God was a Spirit, and to be worshipped in spirit and in
truth. And set singing was to be dispensed with, like set forms of
prayer, and only edifying as prompted by the Spirit. He even objected
to splendid places for the worship of God, and dispensed with
steeples, and bells, and organs. The sacraments, too, were needless,
being mere symbols, or shadows of better things, not obligatory, but
to be put on the same footing as those Jewish ceremonies which the
Savior abrogated. The mind of Fox discarded all aids to devotion, all
titles of honor, all distinctions which arose in pride and egotism.
Hypocrisy he abhorred with his whole soul. It was the vice of the
Pharisees, on whom Christ denounced the severest judgments. He, too,
would denounce it with the most unsparing severity, whenever he
fancied he detected it in rulers, or in venerated dignitaries of the
church, or in the customs of conventional life. He sought simplicity
and sincerity in all their forms. Truth alone should be his polar
star, and this would be revealed by the "inner light," the peculiar
genius of his whole system, which, if it led to many new views of duty
and holiness, yet was the cause of many delusions, and the parent of
conceit and spiritual pride--the grand peculiarity of fanaticism in
all ages and countries. What so fruitful a source of error as the
notion of special divine illumination?

No wonder that Fox and his followers were persecuted, for they set at
nought the wisdom of the world and the customs and laws of ages. They
shocked all conservative minds; all rulers and dignitaries; all men
attached to systems; all syllogistic reasoners and dialectical
theologians; all fashionable and worldly people; all sects and parties
attached to creeds and forms. Neither their inoffensive lives, nor
their doctrine of non-resistance, nor their elevated spiritualism
could screen them from the wrath of judges, bishops, and legislators.
They were imprisoned, fined, whipped, and lacerated without mercy. But
they endured their afflictions with patience, and never lost their
faith in truth, or their trust in God. Generally, they belonged to the
humbler classes, although some men illustrious for birth and wealth
joined their persecuted ranks, the most influential of whom was
William Penn, who lived to be their intercessor and protector, and the
glorious founder and legislator of one of the most flourishing and
virtuous colonies that, in those days of tribulation, settled in the
wilderness of North America; a colony of men who were true to their
enlightened principles, and who were saved from the murderous tomahawk
of the Indian, when all other settlements were scenes of cruelty and

James had now suppressed rebellion; he had filled the Dissenters with
fear; and he met with no resistance from his parliaments. The judges
and the bishops were ready to coöperate with his ministers in imposing
a despotic yoke. All officers of the crown were dismissed the moment
they dissented from his policy, or protested against his acts. Even
judges were removed to make way for the most unscrupulous of tools.

[Sidenote: Despotic Power of James.]

His power, to all appearance, was consolidated; and he now began,
without disguise, to advance the two great objects which were dearest
to his heart--the restoration of the Catholic religion, and the
imposition of a despotic yoke. He wished to be, like Louis XIV., a
despotic and absolute prince; and, to secure this end, he was ready to
violate the constitution of his country. The three inglorious years of
his reign were a succession of encroachments and usurpations.

Indeed, among his first acts was the collection of the revenue without
an act of parliament. To cover this stretch of arbitrary power, the
court procured addresses from public bodies, in which the king was
thanked for the royal care he extended to the customs and excise.

In order to protect the Catholics, who had been persecuted under the
last reign, he was obliged to show regard to other persecuted bodies.
So he issued a warrant, releasing from confinement all who were
imprisoned for conscience' sake. Had he simply desired universal
toleration, this act would merit our highest praises; but it was soon
evident that he wished to elevate the Catholics at the expense of all
the rest. James was a sincere but bigoted devotee to the Church of
Rome, and all things were deemed lawful, if he could but advance the
interests of a party, to which nearly the whole nation was bitterly
opposed. Roman Catholics were proscribed by the laws. The Test Act
excluded from civil and military office all who dissented from the
Established Church. The laws were unjust, but still they were the laws
which James had sworn to obey. Had he scrupulously observed them, and
kept his faith, there can be no doubt that they would, in good time
have been modified.

[Sidenote: Favor Extended to Catholics.]

But James would not wait for constitutional measures. He resolved to
elevate Catholics to the highest offices of both the state and the
church, and this in defiance of the laws and of the wishes of a great
majority of the nation. He accordingly gave commissions to Catholics
to serve as officers in the army; he made Catholics his confidential
advisers; he introduced Jesuits into London; he received a Papal
nuncio, and he offered the livings of the Church of England to needy
Catholic adventurers. He sought, by threats and artifices, to secure
the repeal of the Test Act, by which Catholics were excluded from
office. Halifax, the ablest of his ministers, remonstrated, and he was
turned out of his employments. But he formed the soul and the centre
of an opposition, which finally drove the king from his throne. He
united with Devonshire and other Whig nobles, and their influence was
sufficient to defeat many cherished objects of the king. When
opposition appeared, however, in parliament, it was prorogued or
dissolved, and the old courses of the Stuart kings were resorted to.

[Sidenote: High Commission Court.]

Among his various acts of infringement, which gave great scandal, even
in those degenerate times, was the abuse of the dispensing power--a
prerogative he had inherited, but which had never been strictly
defined. By means of this, he intended to admit Catholics to all
offices in the realm. He began by granting to the whole Roman Catholic
body a dispensation from all the statutes which imposed penalties and
tests. A general indulgence was proclaimed, and the courts of law were
compelled to acknowledge that the right of dispensing had not been
infringed. Four of the judges refused to accede to what was plainly
illegal. They were dismissed; for, at that time, even judges held
office during the pleasure of the king, and not, as in these times,
for life. They had not the independence which has ever been so
requisite for the bench. Nor would all his counsellors and ministers
accede to his design, and those who were refractory were turned out.
As soon as a servile bench of judges recognized this outrage on the
constitution, four Catholic noblemen were admitted as privy
counsellors, and some clergymen, converted to Romanism, were permitted
to hold their livings. James even bestowed the deanery of Christ
Church, one of the highest dignities in the University of Oxford, on a
notorious Catholic, and threatened to do at Cambridge what had been
done at Oxford. The bishopric of Oxford was bestowed upon Parker, who
was more Catholic than Protestant, and that of Chester was given to a
sycophant of no character. James made no secret of his intentions to
restore the Catholic religion, and systematically labored to destroy
the Established Church. In order to effect this, he created a
tribunal, which not materially differed from the celebrated High
Commission Court of Elizabeth, and to break up which was one great
object of the revolutionists who brought Charles I. to the block--the
most odious court ever established by royal despotism in England. The
members of this High Commission Court, which James instituted to try
all ecclesiastical cases, were, with one or two exceptions,
notoriously the most venal and tyrannical of all his agents--Jeffreys,
the Chancellor; Crewe, Bishop of Durham; Sprat, Bishop of Rochester;
the Earl of Rochester, Lord Treasurer; Sunderland, the Lord President;
and Herbert, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. This court summoned
Compton, the Bishop of London, to its tribunal, because he had not
suspended Dr. Sharp, one of the clergy of London, when requested to do
so by the king--a man who had committed no crime, but simply
discharged his duty with fidelity. The bishop was suspended from his
spiritual functions, and the charge of his diocese was committed to
two of his judges. But this court, not content with depriving numerous
clergymen of their spiritual functions, because they would not betray
their own church, went so far as to sit in judgment on the two
greatest corporations in the land,--the Universities of Oxford and
Cambridge,--institutions which had ever befriended the Stuart kings in
their crimes and misfortunes. James was infatuated enough to quarrel
with these great bodies, because they would not approve of his
measures to overturn the church with which they were connected, and
which it was their duty and interest to uphold. The king had commanded
Cambridge to bestow the degree of master of arts on a Benedictine
monk, which was against the laws of the University and of parliament.
The University refused to act against the law, and, in consequence,
the vice-chancellor and the senate, which consisted of doctors and
masters, were summoned to the Court of High Commission. The
vice-chancellor, Pechell, was deprived of his office and emoluments,
which were of the nature of freehold property. But this was not the
worst act of the infatuated monarch. He insisted on imposing a Roman
Catholic in the presidential chair of Magdalen College, one of the
richest and most venerable of the University of Oxford, against even
the friendly remonstrances of his best friends, even of his Catholic
counsellors, and not only against the advice of his friends, but
against all the laws of the land and of the rights of the University;
for the proposed president, Farmer, was a Catholic, and was not a
fellow of the college, and therefore especially disqualified. He was
also a man of depraved morals. The fellows refused to elect Farmer,
and chose John Hough instead. They were accordingly cited to the
infamous court of which Jeffreys was the presiding and controlling
genius. Their election was set aside, but Farmer was not confirmed,
being too vile even for Jeffreys to sustain.

[Sidenote: Quarrel with the Universities.]

The king was exceedingly enraged at the opposition he received from
the University. He resolved to visit it. On his arrival, he summoned
the fellows of Magdalen College, and commanded them to obey him in the
matter of a president. They still held out in opposition, and the
king, mortified and enraged, quitted Oxford to resort to bolder
measures. A special commission was instituted. Hough was forcibly
ejected, and the Bishop of Oxford installed, against the voice of all
the fellows but two. But the blinded king was not yet content. The
fellows were expelled from the University by a royal edict, and the
high commissioner pronounced the ejected fellows incapable of ever
holding any church preferment.

But these severities were blunders, and produced a different effect
from what was anticipated. The nation was indignant; the Universities
lost all reverence; the clergy, in a body, were alienated; and the
whole aristocracy were filled with defiance.

[Sidenote: Magdalen College.]

But the king, nevertheless, for a time, prevailed against all
opposition; and, now that the fellows of Magdalen College were
expelled, he turned it into a Popish seminary, admitted in one day
twelve Roman Catholics as fellows, and appointed a Roman Catholic
bishop to preside over them. This last insult was felt to the
extremities of the kingdom; and bitter resentment took the place of
former loyalty. James was now regarded, by his old friends even, as a
tyrant, and as a man destined to destruction. And, indeed, he seemed
like one completely infatuated, bent on the ruin of that church which
even James I. and the other Stuart kings regarded as the surest and
firmest pillar of the throne.

The bishops of the English Church had in times past, as well as the
Universities, inculcated the doctrine of passive obedience; and
oppression must be very grievous indeed which would induce them to
oppose the royal will. But James had completely alienated them, and
they, reluctantly, at last, threw themselves into the ranks of
opposition. Had they remained true to him, he might still have held
his sceptre; but it was impossible that any body of men could longer
bear his injustice and tyranny.

[Sidenote: Prosecution of the Seven Bishops.]

From motives as impossible to fathom, as it is difficult to account
for the actions of a madman, he ordered that the Declaration of
Indulgence, an unconstitutional act, should be read publicly from all
the pulpits in the kingdom. The London clergy, the most respectable
and influential in the realm, made up their minds to disregard the
order, and the bishops sustained them in their refusal. The archbishop
and six bishops accordingly signed a petition to the king, which
embodied the views of the London clergy. It was presented to the
tyrant, by the prelates in a body, at his palace. He chose to consider
it as a treasonable and libellous act--as nothing short of rebellion.
The conduct of the prelates was generally and enthusiastically
approved by the nation, and especially by the Dissenters, who now
united with the members of the Established Church. James had recently
courted the Dissenters, not wishing to oppose too many enemies at a
time. He had conferred on them many indulgences, and had elevated some
of them to high positions, with the hope that they would unite with
him in breaking down the Establishment. But while some of the more
fanatical were gained over, the great body were not so easily
deceived. They knew well enough that, after crushing the Church of
England, he would crush them. And they hated Catholicism and tyranny
more than they did Episcopacy, in spite of their many persecutions.
Some of the more eminent of the Dissenters took a noble stand, and
their conduct was fully appreciated by the Established clergy. For the
first time, since the accession of Elizabeth, the Dissenters and the
Episcopalians treated each other with that courtesy and forbearance
which enlightened charity demands. The fear of a common enemy united
them. But time, also, had, at length, removed many of their mutual

Nothing could exceed the vexation of James when he found that not only
the clergy had disobeyed his orders, but that the Seven Bishops were
sustained by the nation. When this was discovered, he should have
yielded, as Elizabeth would have done. But he was a Stuart. He was a
bigoted, and self-willed, and infatuated monarch, marked out most
clearly by Providence for destruction. He resolved to prosecute the
bishops for a libel, and their trial and acquittal are among the most
interesting events of an inglorious reign. They were tried at the
Court of the King's Bench. The most eminent lawyers in the realm were
employed as their counsel, and all the arts of tyranny were resorted
to by the servile judges who tried them. But the jury rendered a
verdict of acquittal, and never, within man's memory, were such shouts
and tears of joy manifested by the people. Even the soldiers, whom the
king had ordered to Hounslow Heath to overawe London, partook of the
enthusiasm and triumph of the people. All classes were united in
expressions of joy that the tyrant for once was baffled. The king was
indeed signally defeated; but his defeat did not teach him wisdom. It
only made him the more resolved to crush the liberties of the Church,
and the liberties of the nation. But it also arrayed against him all
classes and all parties of Protestants, who now began to form
alliances, and devise measures to hurl him from his throne. Even the
very courts which James had instituted to crush liberty proved
refractory. Sprat, the servile Bishop of Rochester, sent him his
resignation as one of the Lord Commissioners. The very meanness of his
spirit and laxity of his principles made his defection peculiarly
alarming, and the unblushing Jeffreys now began to tremble. The Court
of High Commission shrunk from a conflict with the Established Church,
especially when its odious character was loudly denounced by all
classes in the kingdom--even by some of the agents of tyranny itself.
The most unscrupulous slaves of power showed signs of uneasiness.

[Sidenote: Tyranny and Infatuation of James.]

But James resolved to persevere. The sanction of a parliament was
necessary to his system, but the sanction of a free parliament it was
impossible to obtain. He resolved to bring together, by corruption and
intimidation, by violent exertions of prerogative, by fraudulent
distortions of law, an assembly which might call itself a parliament,
and might be willing to register any edict he proposed. And,
accordingly, every placeman, from the highest to the lowest, was made
to understand that he must support the throne or lose his office. He
set himself vigorously to pack a parliament. A committee of seven
privy counsellors sat at Whitehall for the purpose of regulating the
municipal corporations. Father Petre was made a privy councillor.
Committees, after the model of the one at Whitehall, were established
in all parts of the realm. The lord lieutenants received written
orders to go down to their respective counties, and superintend the
work of corruption and fraud. But half of them refused to perform the
ignominious work, and were immediately dismissed from their posts,
which were posts of great honor and consideration. Among these were
the great Earls of Oxford, Shrewsbury, Dorset, Pembroke, Rutland,
Bridgewater, Thanet, Northampton, Abingdon, and Gainsborough, whose
families were of high antiquity, wealth, and political influence. Nor
could those nobles, who consented to conform to the wishes and orders
of the king, make any progress in their counties, on account of the
general opposition of the gentry. The county squires, as a body, stood
out in fierce resistance. They refused to send up any men to
parliament who would vote away the liberties and interests of the
nation. The justices and deputy lieutenants declared that they would
sustain, at all hazard, the Protestant religion. And these persons
were not odious republicans, but zealous royalists, now firmly united
and resolved to oppose unlawful acts, though commanded by the king.

James and his ministers next resolved to take away the power of the
municipal corporations. The boroughs were required to surrender their
charters. But a great majority firmly refused to part with their
privileges. They were prosecuted and intimidated, but still they held
out. Oxford, by a vote of eighty to two, voted to defend its
franchises. Other towns did the same. Meanwhile, all the public
departments were subjected to a strict inquisition, and all, who would
not support the policy of the king, were turned out of office, and
among them were some who had been heretofore the zealous servants of
the crown.

[Sidenote: Organized Opposition.]

It was now full time for the organization of a powerful confederacy
against the king. It was obvious, to men of all parties, and all
ranks, that he meditated the complete subversion of English liberties.
The fundamental laws of the kingdom had been systematically violated.
The power of dispensing with acts of parliament had been strained, so
that the king had usurped nearly all legislative authority. The courts
of justice had been filled with unscrupulous judges, who were ready to
obey all the king's injunctions, whether legal or illegal. Roman
Catholics had been elevated to places of dignity in the Established
Church. An infamous and tyrannical Court of High Commission had been
created; persons, who could not legally set foot in England, had been
placed at the head of colleges, and had taken their seat at the royal
council-board. Lord lieutenants of counties, and other servants of the
crown, had been dismissed for refusing to obey illegal commands; the
franchises of almost every borough had been invaded; the courts of
justice were venal and corrupt; an army of Irish Catholics, whom the
nation abhorred, had been brought over to England; even the sacred
right of petition was disregarded, and respectful petitioners were
treated as criminals; and a free parliament was prevented from

Under such circumstances, and in view of these unquestioned facts, a
great conspiracy was set on foot to dethrone the king and overturn the
hateful dynasty.

Among the conspirators were some of the English nobles, the chief of
whom was the Earl of Devonshire, and one of the leaders of the Whig
party. Shrewsbury and Danby also joined them, the latter nobleman
having been one of the most zealous advocates of the doctrine of
passive obedience which many of the High Churchmen and Tories had
defended in the reign of Charles II. It was under his administration,
as prime minister, that a law had been proposed to parliament to
exclude all persons from office who refused to take an oath, declaring
that they thought resistance in all cases unlawful. Compton, the
Bishop of London, who had been insolently treated by the court, joined
the conspirators, whose designs were communicated to the Prince of
Orange by Edward Russell and Henry Sydney, brothers of those two great
political martyrs who had been executed in the last reign. The Prince
of Orange, who had married a daughter of James II., agreed to invade
England with a well-appointed army.

[Sidenote: William, Prince of Orange.]

William of Orange was doubtless the greatest statesman and warrior of
his age, and one of the ablest men who ever wore a crown. He was at
the head of the great Protestant party in Europe, and was the
inveterate foe of Louis XIV. When a youth, his country had been
invaded by Louis, and desolated and abandoned to pillage and cruelty.
It was amid unexampled calamities, when the population were every
where flying before triumphant armies, and the dikes of Holland had
been opened for the ravages of the sea in order to avoid the more
cruel ravages of war, that William was called to be at the head of
affairs. He had scarcely emerged from boyhood; but his boyhood was
passed in scenes of danger and trial, and his extraordinary talents
were most precociously developed. His tastes were warlike; but he was
a warrior who fought, not for the love of fighting, not for military
glory, but to rescue his country from a degrading yoke, and to secure
the liberties of Europe from the encroachments of a most ambitious
monarch. Zeal for those liberties was the animating principle of his
existence; and this led him to oppose so perseveringly the policy and
enterprises of the French king, even to the disadvantage of his native
country and the country which adopted him.

William was ambitious, and did not disdain the overtures which the
discontented nobles of England made to him. Besides, his wife, the
Princess Mary, was presumptive heir to the crown before the birth of
the Prince of Wales. The eyes of the English nation had long been
fixed upon him as their deliverer from the tyranny of James. He was a
sincere Protestant, a bold and enterprising genius, and a consummate
statesman. But he delayed taking any decisive measures until affairs
were ripe for his projects--until the misgovernment and encroachments
of James drove the nation to the borders of frenzy. He then obtained
the consent of the States General for the meditated invasion of
England, and made immense preparations, which, however, were carefully
concealed from the spies and agents of James. They did not escape,
however, the scrutinizing and jealous eye of Louis XIV., who
remonstrated with James on his blindness and self-confidence, and
offered to lend him assistance. But the infatuated monarch would not
believe his danger, and rejected the proffered aid of Louis with a
spirit which ill accorded with his former servility and dependence.
Nor was he aroused to a sense of his danger until the Declaration of
William appeared, setting forth the tyrannical acts of James, and
supposed to be written by Bishop Burnet, the intimate friend of the
Prince of Orange. Then he made haste to fit out a fleet; and thirty
ships of the line were put under the command of Lord Dartmouth. An
army of forty thousand men--the largest that any king of England had
ever commanded--was also sent to the seaboard; a force more than
sufficient to repel a Dutch invasion.

[Sidenote: Critical Condition of James.]

At the same time, the king made great concessions. He abolished the
Court of High Commission. He restored the charter of the city of
London. He permitted the Bishop of Winchester, as visitor of Magdalen
College, to make any reforms he pleased. He would not, however, part
with an iota of his dispensing power, and still hoped to rout William,
and change the religion of his country. But all his concessions were
too late. Whigs and Tories, Dissenters and Churchmen, were ready to
welcome their Dutch deliverer. Nor had James any friends on whom he
could rely. His prime minister, Sunderland, was in treaty with the
conspirators, and waiting to betray him. Churchill, who held one of
the highest commissions in the army, and who was under great
obligations to the king, was ready to join the standard of William.
Jeffreys, the lord chancellor, was indeed true in his allegiance, but
his crimes were past all forgiveness by the nation; and even had he
rebelled,--and he was base enough to do so,--his services would have
been spurned by William and all his adherents.

[Sidenote: Invasion of England by William.]

On the 29th of October, 1688, the armament of William put to sea; but
the ships had scarcely gained half the distance to England when they
were dispersed and driven back to Holland by a violent tempest. The
hopes of James revived; but they were soon dissipated. The fleet of
William, on the 1st of November, again put to sea. It was composed of
more than six hundred vessels, five hundred of which were men of war,
and they were favored by auspicious gales. The same winds which
favored the Dutch ships retarded the fleet of Dartmouth. On the 5th of
November, the troops of William disembarked at Brixham, near Torbay in
Devonshire, without opposition. On the 6th, he advanced to Newton
Abbot, and, on the 9th, reached Exeter. He was cordially received, and
magnificently entertained. He and his lieutenant-general, Marshal
Schomberg, one of the greatest commanders in Europe, entered Exeter
together in the grand military procession, which was like a Roman
triumph. Near him also was Bentinck, his intimate friend and
counsellor, the founder of a great ducal family. The procession
marched to the splendid Cathedral, the _Te Deum_ was sung, and Burnet
preached a sermon.

Thus far all things had been favorable, and William was fairly
established on English ground. Still his affairs were precarious, and
James's condition not utterly hopeless or desperate. In spite of the
unpopularity of the king, his numerous encroachments, and his
disaffected army, the enterprise of William was hazardous. He was an
invader, and the slightest repulse would have been dangerous to his
interests. James was yet a king, and had the control of the army, the
navy, and the treasury. He was a legitimate king, whose claims were
undisputed. And he was the father of a son, and that son,
notwithstanding the efforts of the Protestants to represent him as a
false heir, was indeed the Prince of Wales. William had no claim to
the throne so long as that prince was living. Nor had the nobles and
gentry flocked to his standard as he had anticipated. It was nearly a
week before a single person of rank or consequence joined him.
Devonshire was in Derbyshire, and Churchill had still the confidence
of his sovereign. The forces of the king were greatly superior to his
own. And James had it in his power to make concessions which would
have satisfied a great part of the nation.

But William had not miscalculated. He had profoundly studied the
character of James, and the temper of the English. He knew that a
fatal blindness and obstinacy had been sent upon him, and that he
never would relinquish his darling scheme of changing the religion of
the nation; and he knew that the nation would never acquiesce in that
change; that Popery was hateful in their sight. He also trusted to his
own good sword, and to fortunate circumstances.

[Sidenote: Flight of the King.]

And he was not long doomed to suspense, which is generally so
difficult to bear. In a few days, Lord Cornbury, colonel of a
regiment, and son of the Earl of Clarendon, and therefore a relative
of James himself, deserted. Soon several disaffected nobles joined him
in Exeter. Churchill soon followed, the first general officer that
ever in England abandoned his colors. The Earl of Bath, who commanded
at Plymouth, placed himself, in a few days, at the prince's disposal,
with the fortress which he was intrusted to guard. His army swelled in
numbers and importance. Devonshire raised the standard of rebellion at
Chatsworth. London was in a ferment. James was with his army at
Salisbury, but gave the order to retreat, not daring to face the
greatest captain in Europe. Soon after, he sent away the queen and the
Prince of Wales to France, and made preparations for his own
ignominious flight--the very thing his enemies desired, for his life
was in no danger, and his affairs even then might have been
compromised, in spite of the rapid defection of his friends, and the
advance of William, with daily augmenting forces, upon London. On the
11th of December, the king fled from London, with the intention of
embarking at Sheerness, and was detained by the fishermen of the
coast; but, by an order from the Lords, was set at liberty, and
returned to the capital. William, nearly at the same time, reached
London, and took up his quarters at St. James's Palace. It is needless
to add, that the population of the city were friendly to his cause,
and that he was now virtually the king of England. It is a
satisfaction also to add, that the most infamous instrument of royal
tyranny was seized in the act of flight, at Wapping, in the mean
disguise of a sailor. He was discovered by the horrible fierceness of
his countenance. Jeffreys was committed to the Tower; and the Tower
screened him from a worse calamity, for the mob would have torn him in
pieces. Catholic priests were also arrested, and their chapels and
houses destroyed.

Meanwhile parliament assembled and deliberated on the state of
affairs. Many propositions were made and rejected. The king fled a
second time, and the throne was declared vacant. But the crown was not
immediately offered to the Prince of Orange, although addresses were
made to him as a national benefactor. Many were in favor of a regency.
Another party was for placing the Princess Mary on the throne, and
giving to William, during her life, the title of king, and such a
share of the administration as she chose to give him.

But William had risked every thing for a throne, and nothing less than
the crown of England would now content him. He gave the convention to
understand that, much as he esteemed his wife, he would never accept a
subordinate and precarious place in her government; "that he would not
submit to be tied to the apron-strings of the best of wives;" that,
unless he were offered the crown for life, he should return to

It was accordingly settled by parliament that he should hold the regal
dignity conjointly with his wife, but that the whole power of the
government should be placed in his hands. And the Princess Mary
willingly acceded, being devoted to her husband, and unambitious for

[Sidenote: Consummation of the Revolution.]

[Sidenote: Declaration of Rights.]

Thus was consummated the English Revolution of 1688, bloodless, but
glorious. A tyrant was ejected from an absolute throne, and a noble
and magnanimous prince reigned in his stead, after having taken an
oath to observe the laws of the realm--an oath which he never
violated. Of all revolutions, this proved the most beneficent. It
closed the long struggle of one hundred and fifty years. Royal
prerogative bowed before the will of the people, and true religious
and civil liberty commenced its reign. The Prince of Orange was called
to the throne by the voice of the nation, as set forth in an
instrument known as the Declaration of Rights. This celebrated act of
settlement recapitulated the crimes and errors of James, and merely
asserted the ancient rights and liberties of England--that the
dispensing power had no legal existence; that no money could be raised
without grant of parliament; and that no army could be kept up in time
of peace without its consent; and it also asserted the right of
petition, the right of electors to choose their representatives
freely, the right of parliament to freedom of debate, and the right of
the nation to a pure and merciful administration of justice. No new
rights were put forth, but simply the old ones were reëstablished.
William accepted the crown on the conditions proposed, and swore to
rule by the laws. "Not a single flower of the crown," says Macaulay,
"was touched. Not a single new right was given to the people. The
Declaration of Rights, although it made nothing law which was not law
before, contained the germ of the law which gave religious freedom to
the Dissenters; of the law which secured the independence of judges;
of the law which limited the duration of parliaments; of the law which
placed the liberty of the press under the protection of juries; of the
law which abolished the sacramental test; of the law which relieved
the Roman Catholics from civil disabilities; of the law which reformed
the representative system; of every good law which has been passed
during one hundred and sixty years; of every good law which may
hereafter, in the course of ages, be found necessary to promote the
public weal, and satisfy the demands of public opinion."

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Macaulay's, Hume's, Hallam's, and Lingard's
     Histories of England. Mackintosh's Causes of the Revolution
     of 1688. Fox's History of the Reign of James--a beautiful
     fragment. Burnet's History of his Own Times. Neal's History
     of the Puritans. Life and Times of Richard Baxter. Southey's
     Life of Bunyan. Memoir of George Fox, by Marsh. Life of
     William Penn. Chapters on religion, science, and the
     condition of the people, in the Pictorial History of
     England. Russell's Modern Europe. Woolrych's Life of Judge



[Sidenote: Louis XIV.]

We turn now from English affairs to contemplate the reign of
Louis XIV.--a man who filled a very large space in the history of
Europe during the seventeenth century. Indeed, his reign forms an
epoch of itself, not so much from any impulse he gave to liberty or
civilization, but because, for more than half a century, he was the
central mover of European politics. His reign commemorates the triumph
in France, of despotic principles, the complete suppression of popular
interests, and almost the absorption of national interests in his own
personal aggrandizement. It commemorates the ascendency of fashion,
and the great refinement of material life. The camp and the court of
Louis XIV. ingulphed all that is interesting in the history of France
during the greater part of the seventeenth century. He reigned
seventy-two years, and, in his various wars, a million of men are
supposed to have fallen victims to his vain-glorious ambition. His
palaces consumed the treasures which his wars spared. He was viewed as
a sun of glory and power, in the light of which all other lights were
dim. Philosophers, poets, prelates, generals, and statesmen, during
his reign, were regarded only as his satellites. He was the central
orb around which every other light revolved, and to contribute to his
glory all were supposed to be born. He was, most emphatically, the
state. He was France. A man, therefore, who, in the eye of
contemporaries, was so grand, so rich, so powerful, and so absolute,
claims a special notice. It is the province of history to record great
influences, whether they come from the people, from great popular
ideas, from literature and science, or from a single man. The lives of
individuals are comparatively insignificant in the history of the
United States; but the lives of such men as Cæsar, Cromwell, and
Napoleon, furnish very great subjects for the pen of the philosophical
historian, since great controlling influences emanated from them,
rather than from the people whom they ruled.

[Sidenote: His Power and Resources.]

Louis XIV. was not a great general, like Henry IV., nor a great
statesman, like William III., nor a philosopher, like Frederic the
Great, nor a universal genius, like Napoleon; but his reign filled the
eyes of contemporaries, and circumstances combined to make him the
absolute master of a great empire. Moreover, he had sufficient talent
and ambition to make use of fortunate opportunities, and of the
resources of his kingdom, for his own aggrandizement. But France,
nevertheless, was sacrificed. The French Revolution was as much the
effect of his vanity and egotism, as his own power was the fruit of
the policy of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. By their labors in the
cause of absolutism, he came in possession of armies and treasures.
But armies and treasures were expended in objects of vain ambition,
for the gratification of selfish pleasures, for expensive pageants,
and for gorgeous palaces. These finally embarrassed the nation, and
ground it down to the earth by the load of taxation, and maddened it
by the prospect of ruin, by the poverty and degradation of the people,
and, at the same time, by the extravagance and insolence of an
overbearing aristocracy. The aristocracy formed the glory and pride of
the throne and both nobles and the throne fell, and great was the fall

Our notice of Louis XIV. begins, not with his birth, but at the time
when he resolved to be his own prime minister, on the death of
Cardinal Mazarin, (1661.)

Louis XIV. was then twenty-three years of age--frank, beautiful,
imperious, and ambitious. His education had been neglected, but his
pride and selfishness had been stimulated. During his minority, he had
been straitened for money by the avaricious cardinal; but avaricious
for his youthful master, since, at his death, besides his private
fortune, which amounted to two hundred millions of livres, he left
fifteen millions of livres, not specified in his will, which, of
course, the king seized, and thus became the richest monarch of
Europe. He was married, shortly before the death of Mazarin, to the
Infanta Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV., King of Spain. But,
long before his marriage, he had become attached to Mary de Mancini,
niece of Mazarin, who returned his love with passionate ardor. She
afterwards married Prince Colonna, a Roman noble, and lived a most
abandoned life.

The enormous wealth left by Cardinal Mazarin was, doubtless, one
motive which induced Louis XIV., though only a young man of
twenty-three, to be his own prime minister. Henceforth, to his death,
all his ministers made their regular reports to him, and none were
permitted to go beyond the limits which he prescribed to them.

He accepted, at first, the ministers whom the dying cardinal had
recommended. The most prominent of these were Le Tellier, De Lionne,
and Fouquet. The last was intrusted with the public chest, who found
the means to supply the dissipated young monarch with all the money he
desired for the indulgence of his expensive tastes and ruinous

[Sidenote: Habits and Pleasures of Louis.]

The thoughts and time of the king, from the death of Mazarin, for six
or seven years, were chiefly occupied with his pleasures. It was then
that the court of France was so debauched, splendid, and far-famed. It
was during this time that the king was ruled by La Vallière, one of
the most noted of all his favorites, a woman of considerable beauty
and taste, and not so unprincipled as royal favorites generally have
been. She was created a duchess, and her children were legitimatized,
and also became dukes and princes. Of these the king was very fond,
and his love for them survived the love for their unfortunate mother,
who, though beautiful and affectionate, was not sufficiently
intellectual to retain the affections with which she inspired the most
selfish monarch of his age. She was supplanted in the king's
affections by Madame de Montespan, an imperious beauty, whose
extravagances and follies shocked and astonished even the most
licentious court in Europe; and La Vallière, broken-hearted,
disconsolate, and mortified, sought the shelter of a Carmelite
convent, in which she dragged out thirty-six melancholy and dreary
years, amid the most rigorous severities of self-inflicted penance, in
the anxious hope of that heavenly mansion where her sins would be no
longer remembered, and where the weary would be at rest.

It was during these years of extravagance and pleasure that Versailles
attracted the admiring gaze of Christendom, the most gorgeous palace
which the world has seen since the fall of Babylon. Amid its gardens
and groves, its parks and marble halls, did the modern Nebuchadnezzar
revel in a pomp and grandeur unparalleled in the history of Europe,
surrounded by eminent prelates, poets, philosophers, and statesmen,
and all that rank and beauty had ennobled throughout his vast
dominions. Intoxicated by their united flatteries, by all the incense
which sycophancy, carried to a science, could burn before him, he
almost fancied himself a deity, and gave no bounds to his
self-indulgence, his vanity, and his pride. Every thing was
subordinate to his pleasure and his egotism--an egotism alike
regardless of the tears of discarded favorites, and the groans of his
overburdened subjects.

[Sidenote: His Military Ambition.]

But Louis, at last, palled with pleasure, was aroused from the
festivities of Versailles by dreams of military ambition. He knew
nothing of war, of its dangers, its reverses, or of its ruinous
expenses; but he fancied it would be a beautiful sport for a wealthy
and absolute monarch to engage in the costly game. He cast his eyes on
Holland, a state extremely weak in land forces, and resolved to add it
to the great kingdom over which he ruled.

The only power capable of rendering effectual assistance to Holland,
when menaced by Louis XIV., was England; but England was ruled by
Charles II., and all he cared for were his pleasures and independence
from parliamentary control. The French king easily induced him to
break his alliance with the Dutch by a timely bribe, while, at the
same time, he insured the neutrality of Spain, by inflaming the
hereditary prejudices of the Spanish court against the Low Countries.

War, therefore, without even a decent pretence, and without
provocation, was declared against Holland, with a view of annexing the
Low Countries to France.

Before the Dutch were able to prepare for resistance, Louis XIV.
appeared on the banks of the Rhine with an army of one hundred and
twenty thousand, marshalled by such able generals as Luxembourg,
Condé, and Turenne. The king commanded in person, and with all the
pomp of an ancient Persian monarch, surrounded with women and nobles.
Without any adequate force to resist him, his march could not but be
triumphant. He crossed the Rhine,--an exploit much celebrated, by his
flatterers, though nothing at all extraordinary,--and, in the course
of a few weeks, nearly all the United Provinces had surrendered to the
royal victor. The reduction of Holland and Zealand alone was necessary
to crown his enterprise with complete success. But he wasted time in
vain parade at Utrecht, where he held his court, and where his
splendid army revelled in pleasure and pomp. Amsterdam alone, amid the
general despondency and consternation which the French inundation
produced, was true to herself, and to the liberties of Holland; and
this was chiefly by means of the gallant efforts of the Prince of

[Sidenote: William, Prince of Orange.]

At this time, (1672,) he was twenty-two years of age, and had received
an excellent education, and shown considerable military abilities. In
consequence of his precocity of talent, his unquestioned patriotism,
and the great services which his family had rendered to the state, he
was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces of the republic, and
was encouraged to aspire to the office of stadtholder, the highest in
the commonwealth. And his power was much increased after the massacre
of the De Witts--the innocent victims of popular jealousy, who, though
patriotic and illustrious, inclined to a different policy than what
the Orange party advocated. William advised the States to reject with
scorn the humiliating terms of peace which Louis XIV. offered, and to
make any sacrifice in defence of their very last ditch. The heroic
spirit which animated his bosom he communicated to his countrymen, on
the borders of despair, and in the prospect of national ruin; and so
great was the popular enthusiasm, that preparations were made for
fifty thousand families to fly to the Dutch possessions in the East
Indies, and establish there a new empire, in case they were
overwhelmed by their triumphant enemy.

Never, in the history of war, were such energies put forth as by the
Hollanders in the hour of their extremity. They opened their dikes,
and overflowed their villages and their farms. They rallied around the
standard of their heroic leader, who, with twenty-two thousand men,
kept the vast armies of Condé and Turenne at bay. Providence, too,
assisted men who were willing to help themselves. The fleets of their
enemies were dispersed by storms, and their armies were driven back by
the timely inundation.

The heroism of William called forth universal admiration. Louis
attempted to bribe him, and offered him the sovereignty of Holland,
which offer he unhesitatingly rejected. He had seen the lowest point
in the depression of his country, and was confident of ultimate

The resistance of Holland was unexpected, and Louis, wearied with the
campaign, retired to Versailles, to be fed with the incense of his
flatterers, and to publish the manifestoes of his glory and success.

The states of Europe, jealous of the encroachments of Louis, at last
resolved to come to the assistance of the struggling republic of
Holland. Charles II. ingloriously sided with the great despot of
Europe; but the Emperor of Germany, the Elector of Brandenburg, and
the King of Spain declared war against France. Moreover, the Dutch
gained some signal naval battles. The celebrated admirals De Ruyter
and Van Tromp redeemed the ancient glories of the Dutch flag. The
French were nearly driven out of Holland; and Charles II., in spite of
his secret treaties with Louis, was compelled to make peace with the
little state which had hitherto defied him in the plenitude of his

[Sidenote: Second Invasion of Holland.]

But the ambitious King of France was determined not to be baffled in
his scheme, since he had all the mighty resources of his kingdom at
his entire disposal, and was burning with the passion of military
aggrandizement. So he recommenced preparations for the conquest of
Holland on a greater scale than ever, and assembled four immense
armies. Condé led one against Flanders, and fought a bloody but
indecisive battle with the Prince of Orange, in which twelve thousand
men were killed on each side. Turenne commanded another on the side of
Germany, and possessed himself of the Palatinate, gained several
brilliant successes, but disgraced them by needless cruelties.
Manheim, and numerous towns and villages, were burnt, and the country
laid waste and desolate. The elector was so overcome with indignation,
that he challenged the French general to single combat, which the
great marshal declined.

Louis himself headed a third army, and invaded Franche Comté, which he
subdued in six weeks. The fourth army was sent to the frontiers of
Roussillon, but effected nothing of importance.

[Sidenote: Dutch War.]

This great war was prosecuted for four years longer, in which the
contending parties obtained various success. The only decisive effect
of the contest was to reduce the strength of all the contending
powers. Some great battles were fought, but Holland still held out
with inferior forces. Louis lost the great Turenne, who was killed on
the eve of a battle with the celebrated Montecuculi, who commanded the
German armies; but, in a succeeding campaign, this loss was
compensated by the surrender of Valenciennes, by the victories of
Luxembourg over the Prince of Orange, and by another treaty of peace
with Charles II.

At last, all the contending parties were exhausted, and Louis was
willing to make terms of peace. He had not reduced Holland, but, on
account of his vast resources, he had obtained considerable
advantages. The treaty of Nimeguen, in 1678, secured to him Franche
Comté, which he had twice conquered, and several important cities and
fortresses in Flanders. He considerably extended his dominions, in
spite of a powerful confederacy, and only retreated from the field of
triumph to meditate more gigantic enterprises.

For nine years, Europe enjoyed a respite from the horrors of war,
during which Louis XIV. acted like a universal monarch. During these
nine years, he indulged in his passion of palace building, and
surrounded himself with every pleasure which could intoxicate a mind
on which, already, had been exhausted all the arts of flattery, and
all the resources of wealth.

The man to whom Louis was most indebted for the means to prosecute his
victories and build his palaces, was Colbert, minister of finance, who
succeeded Fouquet. France was indebted to this able and patriotic
minister for her richest manufactures of silks, laces, tapestries, and
carpets, and for various internal improvements. He founded the Gobelin
tapestries; erected the Royal Library, the colonnade of the Louvre,
the Royal Observatory, the Hotel of the Invalids, and the palaces of
the Tuileries, Vincennes, Meudon, and Versailles. He encouraged all
forms of industry, and protected the Huguenots. But his great services
were not fully appreciated by the king, and he was obnoxious to the
nobility, who envied his eminence, and to the people, because he
desired the prosperity of France more than the gratification of their
pleasures. He was succeeded by Louvois, who long retained a great
ascendency by obsequious attention to all the king's wishes.

[Sidenote: Madame Montespan.]

At this period, the reigning favorite at court was Madame de
Montespan--the most infamous and unprincipled, but most witty and
brilliant of all the king's mistresses, and the haughtiest woman of
her age. Her tastes were expensive, and her habits extravagant and
luxurious. On her the sovereign showered diamonds and rubies. He could
refuse her nothing. She received so much from him, that she could
afford to endow a convent--the mere building of which cost one million
eight hundred thousand livres. Her children were legitimatized, and
declared princes of the blood. Through her the royal favors flowed.
Ambassadors, ministers, and even prelates, paid their court to her. On
her the reproofs of Bossuet fell without effect. Secure in her
ascendency over the mind of Louis, she triumphed over his court, and
insulted the nation. But, at last, he grew weary of her, although she
remained at court eighteen years, and she was dismissed from
Versailles, on a pension of a sum equal to six hundred thousand
dollars a year. She lived twenty-two years after her exile from court,
and in great splendor, sometimes hoping to regain the ascendency she
had once enjoyed, and at others in those rigorous penances which her
church inflicts as the expiation for sin. To the last, however, she
was haughty and imperious, and kept up the vain etiquette of a court.
Her husband, whom she had abandoned, and to whom, after her disgrace,
she sought to be reconciled, never would hear her name mentioned; and
the king, whom, for nearly twenty years, she had enthralled, heard of
her death with indifference, as he was starting for a hunting
excursion. "Ah, indeed," said Louis XIV., "so the marchioness is dead!
I should have thought that she would have lasted longer. Are you
ready, M. de la Rochefoucauld? I have no doubt that, after this last
shower, the scent will lie well for the dogs. Let us be off at once."

[Sidenote: Madame de Maintenon.]

As the Marchioness de Montespan lost her power over the royal egotist,
Madame de Maintenon gained hers. She was the wife of the poet Scarron,
and was first known to the king as the governess of the children of
Montespan. She was an estimable woman on the whole, very intellectual,
very proper, very artful, and very ambitious. No person ever had so
great an influence over Louis XIV. as she; and hers was the ascendency
of a strong mind over a weak one. She endeavored to make peace at
court, and to dissuade the king from those vices to which he had so
long been addicted. And she partially reclaimed him, although, while
her counsels were still regarded, Louis was enslaved by Madame de
Fontanges--a luxurious beauty, whom he made a duchess, and on whom he
squandered the revenues of a province. But her reign was short. Mere
physical charms must soon yield to the superior power of intellect and
wit, and, after her death, the reign of Madame de Maintenon was
complete. As the king could not live without her, and as she refused
to follow the footsteps of her predecessors, the king made her his
wife. And she was worthy of his choice; and her influence was, on the
whole, good, although she befriended the Jesuits, and prompted the
king to many acts of religious intolerance. It was chiefly through her
influence, added to that of the Jesuits, that the king revoked the
edict of Nantes, and its revocation was attended by great sufferings
and privations among the persecuted Huguenots. He had, on ascending
the throne, in 1643, confirmed the privileges of the Protestants; but,
gradually, he worried them by exactions and restraints, and, finally,
in 1685, by the revocation of the edict which Henry IV. had passed, he
withdrew his protection, and subjected them to a more bitter
persecution than at any preceding period. All the Protestant ministers
were banished, or sent to the galleys, and the children of Protestants
were taken from their parents, and committed to the care of their
nearest Catholic relations, or such persons as judges appointed. All
the terrors of military execution, all the artifices of priestcraft,
were put forth to make converts and such as relapsed were subjected to
cruel torments. A twentieth part of them were executed, and the
remainder hunted from place to place. By these cruelties, France was
deprived of nearly six hundred thousand of the best people in the
land--a great misfortune, since they contributed, in their dispersion
and exile, to enrich, by their agriculture and manufactures, the
countries to which they fled.

From this period of his reign to his death, Louis XIV. was a religious
bigot, and the interests of the Roman Church, next to the triumph of
absolutism, became the great desire of his life. He was punctual and
rigid in the outward ceremonials of his religion, and professed to
regret the follies and vices of his early life. Through the influence
of his confessor, the Jesuit La Chaise, and his wife, Madame de
Maintenon, he sent away Montespan from his court, and discouraged
those gayeties for which it had once been distinguished. But he was
always fond of ceremony of all kinds, and the etiquette of his court
was most irksome and oppressive, and wearied Madame de Maintenon
herself, and caused her to exclaim, in a letter to her brother, "Save
those who fill the highest stations, I know of none more unfortunate
than those who envy them."

The favorite minister of the king at this time was Louvois, a very
able but extremely prodigal man, who plunged Louis XIV. into
innumerable expenses, and encouraged his taste both for palaces and
war. It was probably through his intrigues, in order to make himself
necessary to the king, that a general war again broke out in Europe.

[Sidenote: League of Augsburg.]

In 1687 was formed the famous League of Augsburg, by which the leading
princes of Europe united in a great confederacy to suppress the power
and encroachments of the French king. Louvois intrigued to secure the
election of the Cardinal de Furstemberg to the archbishopric of
Cologne, in opposition to the interests of Bavaria, the natural ally
of France, conscious that, by so doing, he must provoke hostilities.
But this act was only the occasion, not the cause, of war. Louis had
enraged the Protestant world by his persecution of the Huguenots. He
had insulted even the pope himself by sending an ambassador to Rome,
with guards and armed attendants equal to an army, in order to enforce
some privileges which it was not for the interest or the dignity of
the pope to grant; he had encouraged the invasion of Germany by the
Turks; he had seized Strasburg, the capital of Alsace; he bombarded
Genoa, because they sold powder to the Algerines, and compelled the
doge to visit him as a suppliant; he laid siege to some cities which
belonged to Spain; and he prepared to annex the Low Countries to his
dominions. Indeed, he treated all other powers as if he were the
absolute monarch of Europe, and fear and jealousy united them against
them. Germany, Spain, and Holland, and afterwards England, Denmark,
Sweden, and Savoy, coöperated together to crush the common enemy of
European liberties.

Louis made enormous exertions to resist this powerful confederacy.
Four hundred thousand men were sent into the field, divided into four
armies. Two of these were sent into Flanders, one into Catalonia, and
one into Germany, which laid waste the Palatinate with fire and sword.
Louvois gave the order, and Louis sanctioned it, which was executed
with such unsparing cruelty that all Europe was filled with
indignation and defiance.

[Sidenote: Opposing Armies and Generals.]

The forces of Louis were immense, but those of the allies were
greater. The Spaniards, Dutch, and English, had an army of fifty
thousand men in Flanders, eleven thousand of whom were commanded by
the Earl of Marlborough. The Germans sent three more armies into the
field; one commanded by the Elector of Bavaria, on the Upper Rhine;
another by the Duke of Lorraine, on the Middle Rhine; and a third by
the Elector of Brandenburg, on the Lower Rhine; and these, in the
first campaign, obtained signal successes. The next year, the Duke of
Savoy joined the allies, whose army was commanded by Victor Amadeus;
but he was beaten by Marshal Catinat, one of the most distinguished of
the French generals. Luxembourg also was successful in Flanders, and
gained the great battle of Charleroi over the Germans and Dutch: The
combined fleet of the English and Dutch was also defeated by the
French at the battle of Beachy Head. In the next campaign, Prince
Eugene and the Duke of Schomberg distinguished themselves in checking
the victorious career of Catinat; but nothing of importance was
effected. The following spring, William III. and Louis XIV., the two
great heads of the contending parties, took the field themselves; and
Louis, with the aid of Luxembourg, took Namur, in spite of the efforts
of William to succor it. Some other successes were gained by the
French, and Louis retired to Versailles to celebrate the victories of
his generals. The next campaign witnessed another splendid victory
over William and the allies, by Luxembourg, at Neerwinden, when twelve
thousand men were killed; and also another, by Catinat, at Marsaglia,
in Italy, over the Duke of Savoy. The military glory of Louis was now
at its height; but, in the campaign of 1694-95, he met with great
reverses. Luxembourg, the greatest of his generals, died. The allies
retook Huy and Namur, and the French king, exhausted by the long war,
was forced to make peace. The treaty of Ryswick, in 1697, secured the
tranquillity of Europe for four years--long enough only for the
contending parties to recover their energies, and prepare for a more
desperate contest. Louis XIV., however, now acted on the defensive.
The allied powers were resolved on his complete humiliation.

[Sidenote: War of the Spanish Succession.]

War broke out again in 1701, and in consequence of the accession of
Philip V., grandson of Louis XIV., to the throne of Spain. This great
war of the Spanish Succession, during which Marlborough so greatly
distinguished himself, claims a few explanatory remarks.

Charles II., King of Spain, and the last of the line of the Austrian
princes, being without an heir, and about to die, selected as his
successor Leopold of Bavaria, a boy five years of age, whose
grandmother was Maria Theresa. But there were also two other
claimants--the Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV., whose claim
rested in being the grandson of Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV.,
and sister of Charles II., and the Emperor of Germany, whose mother
was the daughter of Philip III. The various European states looked
with extreme jealousy on the claims of the Emperor of Germany and the
Duke of Anjou, because they feared that the balance of power would be
seriously disturbed if either an Austrian or a Bourbon prince became
King of Spain. They, therefore, generally supported the claims of the
Bavarian prince, especially England and Holland.

But the Prince of Bavaria suddenly died, as it was supposed by poison,
and Louis XIV. so successfully intrigued, that his grandson was
nominated by the Spanish monarch as heir to his throne. This incensed
Leopold II. of Germany, and especially William III., who was resolved
that the house of Bourbon should be no further aggrandized.

On the accession of the Duke of Anjou to the Spanish throne, in 1701,
a grand alliance was formed, headed by the Emperor of Germany and the
King of England, to dethrone him. Louis XIV. long hesitated between
his ambition and the interests of his kingdom; but ambition triumphed.
He well knew that he could only secure a crown to his grandson by a
desperate contest with indignant Europe. Austria, Holland, Savoy, and
England were arrayed against France. And this war of the Spanish
Succession was the longest, the bloodiest, and the most disastrous war
in which Louis was ever engaged. It commenced the last year of the
reign of William III., and lasted thirteen years.

[Sidenote: Duke of Marlborough.]

The great hero of this war was doubtless the Duke of Marlborough,
although Prince Eugene gained with him as imperishable glories as war
can bestow. John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, cannot be said to be
one of those geniuses who have impressed their minds on nations and
centuries; but he was a man who gave great lustre to the British name,
and who attained to a higher pitch of military fame than any general
whom England has produced since Oliver Cromwell, with the exception of

He was born in 1650, of respectable parents, and was page of honor to
the Duke of York, afterwards James II. While a mere boy, his bent of
mind was discernible, and he solicited and obtained from the duke an
ensign's commission, and rapidly passed through the military grades of
lieutenant, captain, major, and colonel. During the infamous alliance
between Louis XIV. and Charles II., he served under Marshal Turenne,
and learned from him the art of war. But he also distinguished himself
as a diplomatic agent of Charles II., in his intrigues with Holland
and France. Before the accession of James II., he was created a
Scottish peer, by the title of Baron Churchill. He followed his royal
patron in his various peregrinations, and, when he succeeded to the
English throne, he was raised to an English peerage. But Marlborough
deserted his patron on the landing of William III., and was made a
member of his Privy Council, and lord of the bed-chamber. Two days
before the coronation of William, he was made Earl of Marlborough; but
was not intrusted with as high military command as his genius and
services merited, William being apparently jealous of his fame. On the
accession of Anne, he was sent to the Continent with the supreme
command of the English armies in the war with Louis about the Spanish
Succession. His services in the campaign of 1702 secured a dukedom,
and deservedly, for he contended against great obstacles--against the
obstinacy and stupidity of the Dutch deputies; against the timidity of
the English government at home; and against the veteran armies of
Louis, led on by the celebrated Villars. But neither the campaigns of
1702 or 1703 were marked by any decisive battles. In 1704 was fought
the celebrated battle of Blenheim, by which the French power was
crippled, and the hopes of Louis prostrated.

The campaign of 1703 closed disastrously for the allies. Europe was
never in greater peril. Bavaria united with France and Spain to crush
Austria. The Austrians had only twenty thousand men, while the
Bavarians had forty-five thousand men in the centre of Germany, and
Marshal Tallard was posted, with forty-five thousand men, on the Upper
Rhine. Marshal Villeroy opposed Marlborough in the Netherlands.

[Sidenote: Battle of Blenheim.]

But Marlborough conceived the bold project of marching his troops to
the banks of the Danube, and there uniting with the Imperialists under
Prince Eugene, to cut off the forces of the enemy before they could
unite. So he left the Dutch to defend themselves against Villeroy,
rapidly ascended the Rhine, before any of the enemy dreamed of his
designs. From Mentz, he proceeded with forty thousand men to
Heidelberg, and from Heidelberg to Donauworth, on the Danube, where
his troops, which had effected a junction with the Austrians and
Prussians, successfully engaged the Bavarians. But the Bavarians and
the French also succeeded in uniting their forces; and both parties
prepared for a desperate conflict. There were about eighty thousand
men on each side. The French and Bavarians were strongly intrenched at
the village of Blenheim; and Marlborough, against the advice of most
of his generals, resolved to attack their fortified camp before it was
reënforced by a large detachment of troops which Villeroy had sent. "I
know the danger," said Marlborough; "but a battle is absolutely
necessary." He was victorious. Forty thousand of the enemy were killed
or taken prisoners; Tallard himself was taken, and every trophy was
secured which marks a decisive victory. By his great victory, the
Emperor of Austria was relieved from his fears, the Hungarians were
overawed, Bavaria fell under the sway of the emperor, and the armies
of Louis were dejected and discouraged. Marlborough marched back again
to Holland without interruption, was made a prince of the empire, and
received pensions and lands from the English government, which made
him one of the richest and greatest of the English nobility. The
palace of Blenheim was built, and he received the praises and plaudits
of the civilized world.

The French were hardly able to cope with Marlborough during the next
campaign, but rallied in 1706, during which year the great battle of
Ramillies was fought, and won by Marlborough. The conquest of Brabant,
and the greater part of Spanish Flanders, resulted from this victory;
and Louis, crippled and humiliated, made overtures of peace. Though
equitable, they were rejected; the allies having resolved that no
peace should be made with the house of Bourbon while a prince of that
house continued to sit upon the throne of Spain. Louis appealed now,
in his distress, to the national honor, sent his plate to the mint,
and resolved, in his turn, to contend, to the last extremity, with his
enemies, whom success had intoxicated.

The English, not content with opposing Louis in the Netherlands and in
Germany, sent their armies into Spain, also, who, united with the
Austrians, overran the country, and nearly completed its conquest. One
of the most gallant and memorable exploits of the war was the siege
and capture of Barcelona by the Earl of Peterborough, the city having
made one of the noblest and most desperate defences since the siege of

[Sidenote: Exertions and Necessities of Louis.]

The exertions of Louis were equal to his necessities; and, in 1707, he
was able to send large armies into the field. None of his generals
were able to resist the Duke of Marlborough, who gained new victories,
and took important cities; but, in Spain, the English met with
reverses. In 1708, Louis again offered terms of peace, which were
again rejected. His country was impoverished, his resources were
exhausted, and a famine carried away his subjects. He agreed to yield
the whole Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria, without any
equivalent; to cede to the emperor his conquests on the Rhine, and to
the Dutch the great cities which Marlborough had taken; to acknowledge
the Elector of Brandenburg as King of Prussia, and Anne as Queen of
England; to remove the Pretender from his dominions; to acknowledge
the succession of the house of Hanover; to restore every thing
required by the Duke of Savoy; and agree to the cessions made to the
King of Portugal.

And yet these conditions, so honorable and advantageous to the allies,
were rejected, chiefly through the influence of Marlborough, Eugene,
and the pensionary Heinsius, who acted from entirely selfish motives.
Louis was not permitted to cherish the most remote hope of peace
without surrendering the strongest cities of his dominions as pledges
for the entire evacuation of the Spanish monarchy by his grandson.
This he would not agree to. He threw himself, in his distress, upon
the loyalty of his people. Their pride and honor were excited; and, in
spite of all their misfortunes, they prepared to make new efforts.
Again were the French defeated at the great battle of Malplaquet, when
ninety thousand men contended on each side; and again did Louis sue
for peace. Again were his overtures rejected, and again did he rally
his exhausted nation. Some victories in Spain were obtained over the
confederates; but the allies gradually were hemming him around, and
the king-hunt was nearly up, when unexpected dissensions among the
allies relieved him of his enemies.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Utrecht.]

These dissensions were the struggles between the Whigs and Tories in
England; the former maintaining that no peace should be made; the
latter, that the war had been carried far enough, and was prolonged
only to gratify the ambition of Marlborough. The great general, in
consequence, lost popularity; and the Tories succeeded in securing a
peace, just as Louis was on the verge of ruin. Another campaign, had
the allies been united, would probably have enabled Marlborough to
penetrate to Paris. That was his aim; that was the aim of his party.
But the nation was weary of war, and at last made peace with Louis. By
the treaty of Utrecht, (1713,) Philip V. resumed the throne of Spain,
but was compelled to yield his rights to the crown of France in case
of the death of a sickly infant, the great-grandson of Louis XIV., who
was heir apparent to the throne; but, in other respects, the terms
were not more favorable than what Louis had offered in 1706, and very
inadequate to the expenses of the war. The allies should have yielded
to the overtures of Louis before, or should have persevered. But party
spirit, and division in the English cabinet and parliament, prevented
the consummation which the Whigs desired, and Louis was saved from
further humiliation and losses.

[Sidenote: Last Days of Louis.]

But his power was broken. He was no longer the autocrat of Europe, but
a miserable old man, who had lived to see irreparable calamities
indicted on his nation, and calamities in consequence of his ambition.
His latter years were melancholy. He survived his son and his
grandson. He saw himself an object of reproach, of ridicule, and of
compassion. He sought the religious consolation of his church, but was
the victim of miserable superstition, and a tool of the Jesuits. He
was ruled by his wife, the widow of the poet Scarron, whom his
children refused to honor. His last days were imbittered by
disappointments and mortifications, disasters in war, and domestic
afflictions. No man ever, for a while, enjoyed a prouder preëminence.
No man ever drank deeper of the bitter cup of disappointed ambition
and alienated affections. No man ever more fully realized the vanity
of this world. None of the courtiers, by whom he was surrounded, he
could trust, and all his experiences led to a disbelief in human
virtue. He saw, with shame, that his palaces, his wars, and his
pleasures, had consumed the resources of the nation, and had sowed the
seeds of a fearful revolution. He lost his spirits; his temper became
soured; mistrust and suspicion preyed upon his mind. His love of pomp
survived all his other weaknesses, and his court, to the last, was
most rigid in its wearisome formalities. But the pageantry of
Versailles was a poor antidote to the sorrows which bowed his head to
the ground, except on those great public occasions when his pride
triumphed over his grief. Every day, in his last years, something
occurred to wound his vanity, and alienate him from all the world but
Madame de Maintenon, the only being whom he fully trusted, and who did
not deceive him. Indeed, the humiliated monarch was an object of pity
as well as of reproach, and his death was a relief to himself, as well
as to his family. He died in 1715, two years after the peace of
Utrecht, not much regretted by the nation.

[Sidenote: His Character.]

Louis XIV. cannot be numbered among the monsters of the human race who
have worn the purple of royalty. His chief and worst vice was egotism,
which was born with him, which was cultivated by all the influences of
his education, and by all the circumstances of his position. This
absorbing egotism made him insensible to the miseries he inflicted,
and cherished in his soul the notion that France was created for him
alone. His mistresses, his friends, his wives, his children, his
court, and the whole nation, were viewed only as the instruments of
his pride and pleasure. All his crimes and blunders proceeded from his
extraordinary selfishness. If we could look on him without this moral
taint, which corrupted and disgraced him, we should see an indulgent
father and a generous friend. He attended zealously to the duties of
his station, and sought not to shake off his responsibilities. He
loved pleasure, but, in its pursuit, he did not forget the affairs of
the realm. He rewarded literature, and appreciated merit. He honored
the institutions of religion, and, in his latter days, was devoted to
its duties, so far as he understood them. He has been foolishly
panegyrized, and as foolishly censured. Still his reign was baneful,
on the whole, especially to the interests of enlightened Christianity
and to popular liberty. He was a bigoted Catholic, and sought to
erect, on the ruins of states and empires, an absolute and universal
throne. He failed; and instead of bequeathing to his successors the
power which he enjoyed, he left them vast debts, a distracted empire,
and a discontented people. He bequeathed to France the revolution
which hurled her monarch from his throne, but which was overruled for
her ultimate good.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Louis XIV. et son Siècle. Voltaire's and Miss
     Pardoe's Histories of the Reign of Louis XIV. James's Life
     of Louis XIV. Mémoires du Duc de St. Simon. The Abbé
     Millot's History. D'Anquetil's Louis XIV., sa Cour, et le
     Régent. Sismondi's History of France. Crowe's and Rankin's
     Histories of France. Lord Mahon's War of the Spanish
     Succession. Temple's Memoirs. Coxe's Life of Marlborough.
     Memoirs of Madame de Maintenon. Madame de Sévigné's Letters.
     Russell's Modern Europe. The late history by Miss Pardoe is
     one of the most interesting ever written. It may have too
     much gossip for what is called the "dignity of history;" but
     that fault, if fault it be, has been made by Macaulay also,
     and has been condemned, not unfrequently, by those most
     incapable of appreciating philosophical history.



[Sidenote: William and Mary.]

From Louis XIV. we turn to consider the reign of his illustrious
rival, William III., King of England, who enjoyed the throne
conjointly with Mary, daughter of James II.

The early life and struggles of this heroic prince have been already
alluded to, in the two previous chapters, and will not be further
discussed. On the 12th day of February, 1689, he arrived at Whitehall,
the favorite palace of the Stuart kings, and, on the 11th of April, he
and Mary were crowned in Westminster Abbey.

Their reign is chiefly memorable for the war with Louis XIV., the
rebellion in Ireland, fomented by the intrigues of James II., and for
the discussion of several great questions pertaining to the liberties
and the prosperity of the English nation, questions in relation to the
civil list, the Place Bill, the Triennial Bill, the liberty of the
press, a standing army, the responsibility of ministers, the veto of
the crown, the administration of Ireland, the East India Company, the
Bank of England, and the funded debt. These topics make the domestic
history of the country, especially in a constitutional point of view,
extremely important.

The great struggle with Louis XIV. has already received all the notice
which the limits of this work will allow, in which it was made to
appear that, if Louis XIV. was the greater king, William III. was the
greater man; and, although his military enterprises were, in one
sense, unsuccessful, since he did not triumph in splendid victories,
still he opposed successfully what would have been, without his
heroism, an overwhelming torrent of invasion and conquest, in
consequence of vastly superior forces. The French king was eventually
humbled, and the liberties of continental Europe were preserved.

Under the wise, tolerant, and liberal administration of William, the
British empire was preserved from disunion, and invaluable liberties
and privileges were guaranteed.

[Sidenote: Irish Rebellion.]

Scarcely was he seated on the throne, which his wife inherited from
the proud descendants of the Norman Conqueror, when a rebellion in
Ireland broke out, and demanded his presence in that distracted and
unfortunate country.

The Irish people, being Roman Catholics, had sympathized with
James II. in all his troubles, and were resolved to defend his cause
against a Calvinistic king. In a short time after his establishment at
St. Germain's, through the bounty of the French king, he began to
intrigue with the disaffected Irish chieftains. The most noted of
these was Tyrconnel, who contrived to deprive the Protestants of Lord
Mountjoy, their most trusted and able leader, by sending him on a
mission to James II., by whose influence he was confined, on his
arrival at Paris, in the Bastile. Tyrconnel then proceeded to disarm
the Protestants, and recruit the Catholic army, which was raised in
two months to a force of forty thousand men, burning to revenge their
past injuries, and recover their ancient possessions and privileges.
James II. was invited by the army to take possession of his throne. He
accepted the invitation, and, early in 1689, made his triumphal entry
into Dublin, and was received with a pomp and homage equal to his
dignity. But James did not go to Ireland merely to enjoy the homage
and plaudits of the Irish people, but to defend the last foothold
which he retained as King of England, trusting that success in Ireland
would eventually restore to him the throne of his ancestors. And he
was cordially, but not powerfully, supported by the French king, who
was at war with England, and who justly regarded Ireland as the most
assailable part of the British empire.

The Irish parliament, in the interest of James, passed an act of
attainder against all Protestants who had assisted William, among whom
were two archbishops, one duke, seventeen earls, eighteen barons, and
eighty-three clergymen. By another act, Ireland was made independent
of England. The Protestants were every where despoiled and insulted.

But James was unequal to the task he had assumed, incapable either of
preserving Ireland or retaking England. He was irresolute and
undecided. He could not manage an Irish House of Commons any better
than he could an English one. He debased the coin, and resorted to
irritating measures to raise money.

At last he concluded to subdue the Protestants in Ulster, and advanced
to lay siege to Londonderry, upon which depended the fate of the north
of Ireland. It was bravely defended by the inhabitants, and finally
relieved by the troops sent over from England under the command of
Kirke--the same who inflicted the cruelties in the west of England
under James II. But William wanted able officers, and he took them
indiscriminately from all parties. Nine thousand people miserably
perished by famine and disease in the town, before the siege was
raised, one of the most memorable in the annals of war.

Ulster was now safe, and the discomfiture of James was rapidly
effected. Old Marshal Schomberg was sent into Ireland with sixteen
thousand veteran troops, and, shortly after, William himself (June 14,
1690) landed at Carrickfergus, near Belfast, with additional men, who
swelled the Protestant army to forty thousand.

[Sidenote: King James in Ireland.]

The contending forces advanced to the conflict, and on the 1st of July
was fought the battle of the Boyne, in which Schomberg was killed, but
which resulted in the defeat of the troops of James II. The
discomfited king fled to Dublin, but quitted it as soon as he had
entered it, and embarked hastily at Waterford for France, leaving the
Earl of Tyrconnel to contend with vastly superior forces, and to make
the best terms in his power.

The country was speedily subdued, and all the important cities and
fortresses, one after the other, surrendered to the king. Limerick
held out the longest, and made an obstinate resistance, but finally
yielded to the conqueror; and with its surrender terminated the final
efforts of the old Irish inhabitants to regain the freedom which they
had lost. Four thousand persons were outlawed, and their possessions
confiscated. Indeed, at different times, the whole country has been
confiscated, with the exception of the possessions of a few families
of English blood. In the reign of James I., the whole province of
Ulster, containing three millions of acres, was divided among the new
inhabitants. At the restoration, eight millions of acres, and, after
the surrender of Limerick, one million more of acres, were
confiscated. During the reign of William and Mary, the Catholic Irish
were treated with extreme rigor, and Ireland became a field for
place-hunters. All important or lucrative offices in the church, the
state, and the army, were filled with the needy dependants of the
great Whig families. Injustice to the nation was constantly exercised,
and penal laws were imposed by the English parliament, and in
reference to matters which before came under the jurisdiction of the
Irish parliament. But, with all these rigorous measures, Ireland was
still ruled with more mildness than at any previous period in its
history, and no great disturbance again occurred until the reign of
George III.

But the reign of William III., however beneficial to the liberties of
England and of Europe, was far from peaceful. Apart from his great
struggle with the French king, his comfort and his composure of mind
were continually disturbed by domestic embarrassments, arising from
the jealousies between the Whigs and Tories, the intrigues of
statesmen with the exiled family, and discussions in parliament in
reference to those great questions which attended the settlement of
the constitution. A bill was passed, called the _Place Bill_,
excluding all officers of the crown from the House of Commons, which
showed the jealousy of the people respecting royal encroachments. A
law also was passed, called the _Triennial Bill_, which limited the
duration of parliament to three years, but which, in a subsequent
reign, was repealed, and one substituted which extended the duration
of a parliament to seven years. An important bill was also passed
which regulated trials in case of treason, in which the prisoner was
furnished with a copy of the indictment, with the names and residences
of jurors, with the privilege of peremptory challenge, and with full
defence of counsel. This bill guaranteed new privileges and rights to

[Sidenote: Freedom of the Press.]

The great question pertaining to the Liberty of the Press was
discussed at this time--one of the most vital questions which affect
the stability of government on the one side, and the liberties of the
people on the other. So desirable have all governments deemed the
control of the press by themselves, that parliament, when it abolished
the Star Chamber, in the reign of Charles I., still assumed its powers
respecting the licensing of books. Various modifications were, from
time to time, made in the laws pertaining to licensing books, until,
in the reign of William, the liberty of the press was established
nearly upon its present basis.

William, in general, was in favor of those movements which proved
beneficial in after times, or which the wisdom of a subsequent age saw
fit to adopt. Among these was the union of England and Scotland, which
he recommended. Under his auspices, the affairs of the East India
Company were considered and new charters granted; the Bank of England
was erected; benevolent action for the suppression of vice and for the
amelioration of the condition of the poor took place; the coinage was
adjusted and financial experiments were made.

The crown, on the whole, lost power during this reign, which was
transferred to the House of Commons. The Commons acquired the complete
control of the purse, which is considered paramount to all other
authority. Prior to the Revolution, the supply for the public service
was placed at the disposal of the sovereign, but the definite sum of
seven hundred thousand pounds, yearly, was placed at the disposal of
William, to defray the expense of the civil list and his other
expenses, while the other contingent expenses of government, including
those for the support of the army and navy, were annually appropriated
by the Commons.

[Sidenote: Act of Settlement--Death of William III.]

The most important legislative act of this reign was the Act of
Settlement, March 12, 1701, which provided that England should be
freed from the obligation of engaging in any war for the defence of
the foreign dominions of the king; that all succeeding kings must be
of the communion of the Church of England; that no succeeding king
should go out of the British dominions without consent of parliament;
that no person in office, or pensioner, should be a member of the
Commons; that the religious liberties of the people should be further
secured; that the judges should hold office during good behavior, and
have their salaries ascertained; and that the succession to the throne
should be confined to Protestant princes.

King William reigned in England thirteen years, with much ability, and
sagacity, and prudence, and never attempted to subvert the
constitution, for which his memory is dear to the English people. But
most of his time, as king, was occupied in directing warlike
operations on the Continent, and in which he showed a great jealousy
of the genius of Marlborough, whose merits he nevertheless finally
admitted. He died March 8, 1702, and was buried in the sepulchre of
the kings of England.

[Sidenote: Character of William.]

Notwithstanding the animosity of different parties against
William III., public opinion now generally awards to him, considering
the difficulties with which he had to contend, the first place among
the English kings. He had many enemies and many defects. The Jacobites
hated him because "he upset their theory of the divine rights of
kings; the High Churchmen because he was indifferent to the forms of
church government; the Tories because he favored the Whigs; and the
Republicans because he did not again try the hopeless experiment of a
republic." He was not a popular idol, in spite of his great services
and great qualities, because he was cold, reserved, and unyielding;
because he disdained to flatter, and loved his native better than his
adopted country. But his faults were chiefly offences against good
manners, and against the prejudices of the nation. He distrusted human
nature, and disdained human sympathy. He was ambitious, and his
ambition was allied with selfishness. He permitted the slaughter of
the De Witts, and never gave Marlborough a command worthy of his
talents. He had no taste for literature, wit, or the fine arts. His
favorite tastes were hunting, gardening and upholstery. That he was,
however, capable of friendship, is attested by his long and devoted
attachment to Bentinck, whom he created Earl of Portland, and
splendidly rewarded with rich and extensive manors in every part of
the land. His reserve and coldness may in part be traced to his
profound knowledge of mankind, whom he feared to trust. But if he was
not beloved by the nation, he secured their eternal respect by being
the first to solve the problem of constitutional monarchy, and by
successfully ruling, at a very critical period, the Dutch, the
English, the Scotch, and the Irish, who had all separate interests and
jealousies; by yielding, when in possession of great power, to
restraints he did not like; and by undermining the intrigues and power
of so mighty an enemy of European liberties as Louis XIV. His heroism
shone brilliantly in defeat and disaster, and his courage and exertion
never flagged when all Europe desponded, and when he himself labored
under all the pains and lassitude of protracted disease. He died
serenely, but hiding from his attendants, as he did all his days, the
profoundest impressions which agitated his earnest and heroic soul.

[Sidenote: Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke.]

Among the great men whom he encouraged and rewarded, may be mentioned
the historian Burnet, whom he made Bishop of Salisbury, and Tillotson
and Tennison, whom he elevated to archiepiscopal thrones. Dr. South
and Dr. Bentley also adorned this age of eminent divines. The great
poets of the period were Prior, Dryden, Swift, and Pope, who, however,
are numbered more frequently among the wits of the reign of Anne.
Robert Boyle distinguished himself for experiments in natural science,
and zeal for Christian knowledge; and Christopher Wren for his genius
in architectural art. But the two great lights of this reign were,
doubtless, Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke, to whom the realm of
natural and intellectual philosophy is more indebted than to any other
men of genius from the time of Bacon. The discoveries of Newton are
scarcely without a parallel, and he is generally regarded as the
greatest mathematical intellect that England has produced. To him the
world is indebted for the binomial theorem, discovered at the age of
twenty-two; for the invention of fluxions; for the demonstration of
the law of gravitation; and for the discovery of the different
refrangibility of rays of light. His treatise on Optics and his
_Principia_, in which he brought to light the new theory of the
universe, place him at the head of modern philosophers--on a high
vantage ground, to which none have been elevated, of his age, with the
exception of Leibnitz and Galileo. But his greatest glory was his
modesty, and the splendid tribute he rendered to the truths of
Christianity, whose importance and sublime beauty he was ever most
proud to acknowledge in an age of levity and indifference.

John Locke is a name which almost exclusively belongs to the reign of
William III., and he will also ever be honorably mentioned in the
constellation of the very great geniuses and Christians of the world.
His treatises on Religious Toleration are the most masterly ever
written, while his Essay on the Human Understanding is a great system
of truth, as complete, original, and logical, in the department of
mental science, as was the system of Calvin in the realm of theology.
Locke's Essay has had its enemies and detractors, and, while many
eminent men have dissented from it, it nevertheless remains, one of
the most enduring and proudest monuments of the immortal and
ever-expanding intellect of man.

[Sidenote: Anne.]

On the death of William III., (1702,) the Princess Anne, daughter of
James II., peaceably ascended the throne. She was thirty-seven years
of age, a woman of great weaknesses, and possessing but few
interesting qualities. Nevertheless, her reign is radiant with the
glory of military successes, and adorned with every grace of fancy,
wit, and style in literature. The personal talent and exclusive
ambition of William suppressed the national genius; but the incapacity
of Anne gave scope for the commanding abilities of Marlborough in the
field, and Godolphin in the cabinet.

The memorable events connected with her reign of twelve years, were,
the war of the Spanish succession, in which Marlborough humbled the
pride of Louis XIV.; the struggles of the Whigs and Tories; the union
of Scotland with England; the discussion and settlement of great
questions pertaining to the constitution, and the security of the
Protestant religion; and the impulse which literature received from
the constellation of learned men who were patronized by the
government, and who filled an unusual place in public estimation.

In a political point of view, this reign is but the continuation of
the reign of William, since the same objects were pursued, the same
policy was adopted, and the same great characters were intrusted with
power. The animating object of William's life was the suppression of
the power of Louis XIV.; and this object was never lost sight of by
the English government under the reign of Anne.

Hence the great political event of the reign was the war of the
Spanish succession, which, however, pertains to the reign of Louis as
well as to that of Anne. It was during this war that the great battles
of Blenheim, Ramillies, and Malplaquet attested the genius of the
greatest military commander that England had ever sent into the field.
It was this war which exhausted the energies and resources of all the
contending states of Europe, and created a necessity for many years of
slumbering repose. It was this war which completed the humiliation of
a monarch who aspired to the sovereignty of Europe, which preserved
the balance of power, and secured the liberties of Europe. Yet it was
a war which laid the foundation of the national debt, inflamed the
English mind with a mad passion for military glory, which demoralized
the nation, and fostered those international jealousies and enmities
which are still a subject of reproach to the two most powerful states
of Europe. This war made England a more prominent actor on the arena
of European strife, and perhaps contributed to her political
aggrandizement. The greatness of the British empire begins to date
from this period, although this greatness is more to be traced to
colonial possessions, manufactures, and commercial wealth, than to the
victories of Marlborough.

[Sidenote: The Duke of Marlborough.]

It will ever remain an open question whether or not it was wise in the
English nation to continue so long the struggle with Louis XIV. In a
financial and material point of view, the war proved disastrous. But
it is difficult to measure the real greatness of a country, and solid
and enduring blessings, by pounds, shillings, and pence. All such
calculations, however statistically startling, are erroneous and
deceptive. The real strength of nations consists in loyalty,
patriotism, and public spirit; and no sacrifices can be too great to
secure these unbought blessings--"this cheap defence." If the
victories of Marlborough secured these, gave dignity to the British
name, and an honorable and lofty self-respect to the English people,
they were not dearly purchased. But the settlement of these questions
cannot be easily made.

As to the remarkable genius of the great man who infused courage into
the English mind, there can be no question. Marlborough, in spite of
his many faults, his selfishness and parsimony, his ambition and
duplicity, will ever enjoy an enviable fame. He was not so great a
moral hero as William, nor did he contend against such superior forces
as the royal hero. But he was a great hero, nevertheless. His glory
was reached by no sudden indulgence of fortune, by no fortunate
movements, by no accidental circumstances. His fame was progressive.
He never made a great mistake; he never lost the soundness of his
judgment. No success unduly elated him, and no reverses discouraged
him. He never forgot the interests of the nation in his own personal
annoyances or enmities. He was magnanimously indulgent to those Dutch
deputies who thwarted his measures, criticized his plans, and lectured
him on the art of war. The glory of his country was the prevailing
desire of his soul. He was as great in diplomacy and statesmanship as
on the field of Blenheim. He ever sacrificed his feelings as a
victorious general to his duty as a subject. His sagacity was only
equalled by his prudence and patience, and these contributed, as well
as his personal bravery, to his splendid successes, which secured for
him magnificent rewards--palaces and parks, peerages, and a nation's
gratitude and praise.

But there is a limit to all human glory. Marlborough was undermined by
his political enemies, and he himself lost the confidence of the queen
whom he had served, partly by his own imperious conduct, and partly
from the overbearing insolence of his wife. From the height of popular
favor, he descended to the depth of popular hatred. He was held up, by
the sarcasm of the writers whom he despised, to derision and obloquy;
was accused of insolence, cruelty, ambition, extortion, and avarice,
discharged from his high offices, and obliged to seek safety by exile.
He never regained the confidence of the nation, although, when he
died, parliament decreed him a splendid funeral, and a grave in
Westminster Abbey.

[Sidenote: Character of Marlborough.]

In private life, he was amiable and kind; was patient under
contradiction, and placid in manners; had great self-possession, and
extraordinary dignity. His person was beautiful, and his address
commanding. He was feared as a general, but loved as a man. He never
lost his affections for his home, and loved to idolatry his imperious
wife, his equal, if not superior, in the knowledge of human nature.
These qualities as a man, a general, and a statesman, in spite of his
defects, have immortalized his name, and he will, for a long time to
come, be called, and called with justice, the _great_ Duke of

Scarcely less than he, was Lord Godolphin, the able prime minister of
Anne, with whom Marlborough was united by family ties, by friendship,
by official relations, and by interest. He was a Tory by profession,
but a Whig in his policy. He rose with Marlborough, and fell with him,
being an unflinching advocate for the prosecution of the war to the
utmost limits, for which his government was distasteful to the Tories.
His life was not stainless; but, in an age of corruption, he ably
administered the treasury department, and had control of unbounded
wealth, without becoming rich--the highest praise which can ever be
awarded to a minister of finance. It was only through the coöperation
of this sagacious and far-sighted statesman that Marlborough himself
was enabled to prosecute his brilliant military career.

[Sidenote: Whigs and Tories.]

It was during his administration that party animosity was at its
height--the great struggle which has been going on, in England, for
nearly two hundred years, between the Whigs and Tories. These names
originated in the reign of Charles II., and were terms of reproach.
The court party reproached their antagonists with their affinity to
the fanatical conventiclers in Scotland, who were known by the name of
the _Whigs_; and the country party pretended to find a resemblance
between the courtiers and the Popish banditti of Ireland, to whom the
appellation of _Tory_ was affixed. The High Church party and the
advocates of absolutism belonged to the Tories; the more liberal party
and the advocates of constitutional reform, to the Whigs. The former
were conservative, the latter professed a sympathy with improvements.
But the leaders of both parties were among the greatest nobles in the
realm, and probably cared less for any great innovation than they did
for themselves. These two great parties, in the progress of society,
have changed their views, and the opinions once held by the Whigs were
afterwards adopted by the Tories. On the whole, the Whigs were in
advance in liberality of mind, and in enlightened plans of government.
But both parties, in England, have ever been aristocratic, and both
have felt nearly an equal disgust of popular influences. Charles and
James sympathized with the Tories more than with the Whigs; but
William III. was supported by the Whigs, who had the ascendency in his
reign. Queen Anne was a Tory, as was to be expected from a princess of
the house of Stuart; but, in the early part of her reign, was obliged
to yield to the supremacy of the Whigs. The advocates for war were
Whigs, and those who desired peace were Tories. The Whigs looked to
the future glory of the country; the Tories, to the expenses which war
created. The Tories at last got the ascendency, and expelled
Godolphin, Marlborough, and Sunderland from power.

Of the Tory leaders, Harley, (Earl of Oxford,) St. John, (Lord
Bolingbroke,) the Duke of Buckingham, and the Duke of Ormond, the Earl
of Rochester, and Lord Dartmouth, were the most prominent, but this
Tory party was itself divided, in consequence of jealousies between
the chiefs, the intrigues of Harley, and the measureless ambition of
Bolingbroke. Under the ascendency of the Tories the treaty of Utrecht
was made, now generally condemned by historians of both Whig and Tory
politics. It was disproportioned to the success of the war, although
it secured the ends of the grand alliance.

[Sidenote: Dr. Henry Sacheverell.]

One of the causes which led to the overthrow of the Whigs was the
impeachment and trial of Dr. Henry Sacheverell, an event which excited
intense interest at the time, and, though insignificant in itself,
touched some vital principles of the constitution.

This divine was a man of mean capacity, and of little reputation for
learning or virtue. He had been, during the reign of William, an
outrageous Whig; but, finding his services disregarded, he became a
violent Tory. By a sort of plausible effrontery and scurrilous
rhetoric, he obtained the applause of the people, and the valuable
living of St. Saviour, Southwark. The audacity of his railings against
the late king and the revolution at last attracted the notice of
government; and for two sermons which he printed, and in which he
inculcated, without measure, the doctrine of passive obedience,
consigned Dissenters to eternal damnation, and abused the great
principle of religious toleration, he was formally impeached. All
England was excited by the trial. The queen herself privately
attended, to encourage a man who was persecuted for his loyalty, and
persecuted for defending his church. The finest orators and lawyers of
the day put forth all their energies. Bishop Atterbury wrote for
Sacheverell his defence, which was endorsed by a conclave of High
Church divines. The result of the trial was the condemnation of the
doctor, and with it the fall of his adversaries. He was suspended for
three years, but his defeat was a triumph. He was received, in college
halls and private mansions, with the pomp of a sovereign and the
reverence of a saint. His sentence made his enemies unpopular. The
great body of the English nation, wedded to High Church principles,
took sides in his favor. But the arguments of his accusers developed
some great principles--led to the assertion of the doctrines of
toleration; for, if passive obedience to the rulers of the state and
church were obligatory, then all Dissenters might be curbed and
suppressed. The Whig managers of the trial, by opposing the bigoted
Churchmen, aided the cause of dissent, justified the revolution, and
upheld the conquest by William III. And their speeches are upon
record, that they asserted the great principles of civil and religious
liberty, in the face of all the authority, dignity, and wisdom of the
realm. It is true they lost as a party, on account of the bigotry of
the times; but they furnished another pillar to uphold the
constitution, and adduced new and powerful arguments in support of
constitutional liberty. The country gained, if they, as a party, lost;
and though Sacheverell was lauded by his church, his conviction was a
triumph to the friends of freedom. Good resulted in many other ways.
Political leaders learned moral wisdom; they saw the folly of
persecuting men for libels, when such men had the sympathy of the
people; that such persecutions were undignified, and that, while they
gained their end, they lost more by victory than by defeat. The trial
of Sacheverell, while it brought to view more clearly some great
constitutional truths, also more effectually advanced the liberty of
the press; for, surely, restriction on the press is a worse evil, than
the violence and vituperation of occasional libels.

[Sidenote: Union of Scotland and England.]

The great domestic event of this reign was doubtless the union of
Scotland and England; a consummation of lasting peace between the two
countries, which William III. had proposed. Nothing could be more
beneficent for both the countries; and the only wonder is, that it was
not done before, when James II. ascended the English throne; and
nothing then, perhaps, prevented it, but the bitter jealousy which had
so long existed between these countries; a jealousy, dislike, and
prejudice which have hardly yet passed away.

Scotland, until the reign of James II., was theoretically and
practically independent of England, but was not so fortunately placed,
as the latter country, for the development of energies. The country
was smaller, more barren, and less cultivated. The people were less
civilized; and had less influence on the political welfare of the
state. The aristocracy were more powerful, and were more jealous of
royal authority. There were constant feuds and jealousies between
dominant classes, which checked the growth in political importance,
wealth, and civilization. But the people were more generally imbued
with the ultra principles of the Reformation, were more religious, and
cherished a peculiar attachment to the Presbyterian form of church
government, and a peculiar hatred of every thing which resembled Roman
Catholicism. They were, moreover, distinguished for patriotism, and
had great jealousy of English influences.

James II. was the legitimate King of Scotland, as well as of England;
but he soon acquired a greater love for England, than he retained for
his native country; and England being the greater country, the
interests of Scotland were frequently sacrificed to those of England.

Queen Anne, as the daughter of James II., was also the legitimate
sovereign of Scotland; and, on her decease, the Scotch were not bound
to acknowledge the Elector of Hanover as their legitimate king.

[Sidenote: Duke of Hamilton.]

Many ardent and patriotic Scotchmen, including the Duke of Hamilton
and Fletcher of Saltoun, deemed it a favorable time to assert, on the
death of Queen Anne, their national independence, since the English
government was neither just nor generous to the lesser country.

Under these circumstances, there were many obstacles to a permanent
union, and it was more bitterly opposed in Scotland than in England.
The more patriotic desired complete independence. Many were jealous of
the superior prosperity of England. The people in the Highlands and
the north of Scotland were Jacobinical in their principles, and were
attached to the Stuart dynasty. The Presbyterians feared the influence
of English Episcopacy, and Scottish peers deprecated a servile
dependence on the parliament of England.

But the English government, on the whole, much as it hated Scotch
Presbyterianism and Scotch influence, desired a union, in order to
secure the peaceful succession of the house of Hanover, for the north
of Scotland was favorable to the Stuarts, and without a union, English
liberties would be endangered by Jacobinical intrigues. English
statesmen felt this, and used every measure to secure this end.

The Scotch were overreached. Force, bribery, and corruption were
resorted to. The Duke of Hamilton proved a traitor, and the union was
effected--a union exceedingly important to the peace of both
countries, but especially desirable to England. Important concessions
were made by the English, to which they were driven only by fear. They
might have ruled Scotland as they did Ireland, but for the intrepidity
and firmness of the Scotch, who while negotiations were pending,
passed the famous Act of Security, by which the Scottish parliament
decreed the succession in Scotland, on the death of the queen, open
and elective; the independence and power of parliaments; freedom in
trade and commerce; and the liberty of Scotland to engage or not in
the English continental wars. The English parliament retaliated,
indeed, by an act restricting the trade of Scotland, and declaring
Scotchmen aliens throughout the English dominions. But the conflicts
between the Whigs and Tories induced government to repeal the act; and
the commissioners for the union secured their end.

It was agreed, in the famous treaty they at last effected, that the
two kingdoms of England and Scotland be united into one, by the name
of _Great Britain_.

That the succession to the United Kingdom shall remain to the Princess
Sophia, Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the heirs of her body, being
Protestants; and that all Papists, and persons marrying Papists, shall
be excluded from, and be forever incapable of inheriting, the crown of
Great Britain;

That the whole people of Great Britain shall be represented by one
parliament, in which sixteen peers and forty-five commoners, chosen
for Scotland, should sit and vote;

That the subjects of the United Kingdom shall enjoy an entire freedom
and intercourse of trade and navigation, and reciprocal communication
of all other rights, privileges, and advantages belonging to the
subjects of either kingdom;

That the laws, in regard to public rights and civil government, shall
be the same in both countries, but that no alteration shall be made in
the laws respecting private rights, unless for the evident utility of
the subjects residing in Scotland;

That the Court of Session, and all other courts of judicature in
Scotland, remain as before the union, subject, however, to such
regulations as may be made by the parliament of Great Britain.

Beside these permanent regulations, a sum of three hundred and
ninety-eight thousand pounds was granted to Scotland, as an equivalent
to the augmentation of the customs and excise.

By this treaty, the Scotch became identified with the English in
interest. They lost their independence; but they gained security and
peace; and rose in wealth and consequence. The nation moreover, was
burdened by the growth of the national debt. The advantage was mutual,
but England gained the greater advantage by shifting a portion of her
burdens on Scotland, by securing the hardy people of that noble
country to fight her battles, and by converting a nation of enemies
into a nation of friends.

We come now to glance at those illustrious men who adorned the
literature of England in this brilliant age, celebrated for political
as well as literary writings.

Of these, Addison, Swift, Bolingbroke, Bentley, Warburton, Arbuthnot,
Gay, Pope, Tickell, Halifax, Parnell, Rowe, Prior, Congreve, Steele,
and Berkeley, were the most distinguished. Dryden belonged to the
preceding age; to the period of license and gayety--the greatest but
most immoral of all the great poets of England, from the time of
Milton to that of Pope.

[Sidenote: Wits of Queen Anne's Reign.]

The wits of Queen Anne's reign were political writers as well as
poets, and their services were sought for and paid by the great
statesmen of the times, chiefly of the Tory party. Marlborough
neglected the poets, and they contributed to undermine his power.

Of these wits the most distinguished and respectable was Addison, born
1672. He was well educated, and distinguished himself at Oxford, and
was a fellow of Magdalen College. His early verses, which would now be
pronounced very inferior, however attracted the notice of Dryden, then
the great autocrat of letters, and the oracle of the literary clubs.
At the age of twenty-seven, Addison was provided with a pension from
the Whig government, and set out on his travels. He was afterwards
made secretary to Lord Halifax, and elected a member of the House of
Commons, but was never able to make a speech. He, however, made up for
his failure as an orator by his power as a writer, being a perfect
master of elegant satire. He was also charming in private
conversation, and his society was much sought by eminent statesmen,
scholars, and noblemen. In 1708, he became secretary for Ireland, and,
while he resided at Dublin, wrote those delightful papers on which his
fame chiefly rests. Not as the author of Rosamond, nor of Latin
verses, nor of the treatise on Medals, nor of Letters from Italy, nor
of the tragedy of Cato, would he now be known to us. His glory is
derived from the Tatler and Spectator--an entirely new species of
writing in his age, original, simple, and beautiful, but chiefly
marked for polished and elegant satire against the follies and bad
taste of his age. Moreover, his numbers of the Spectator are
distinguished for elevation of sentiment, and moral purity, without
harshness, and without misanthropy. He wrote three sevenths of that
immortal production, and on every variety of subject, without any
attempt to be eloquent or _intense_, without pedantry and without
affectation. The success of the work was immense, and every one who
could afford it, had it served on the breakfast table with the tea and
toast. It was the general subject of conversation in all polite
circles, and did much to improve the taste and reform the morals of
the age. There was nothing which he so severely ridiculed as the show
of learning without the reality, coxcombry in conversation,
extravagance in dress, female flirts and butterflies, gay and
fashionable women, and all false modesty and affectation. But he
blamed without bitterness, and reformed without exhortation, while he
exalted what was simple, and painted in most beautiful colors the
virtues of contentment, simplicity, sincerity, and cheerfulness.

His latter days were imbittered by party animosity, and the malignant
stings of literary rivals. Nor was he happy in his domestic life,
having married a proud countess, who did not appreciate his genius. He
also became addicted to intemperate habits. Still he was ever honored
and respected, and, when he died, was buried in Westminster Abbey.

[Sidenote: Swift.]

Next to Addison in fame, and superior in genius, was Swift, born in
Ireland, in 1677, educated at Dublin, and patronized by Sir William
Temple. He was rewarded, finally, with the deanery of St. Patrick's.
He was very useful to his party by his political writings; but his
fame rests chiefly on his poetry, and his Gulliver's Travels, marked
and disgraced by his savage sarcasm on woman, and his vilification of
human nature. He was a great master of venomous satire. He spared
neither friends nor enemies. He was ambitious, misanthropic and
selfish. His treatment of woman was disgraceful and heartless in the
extreme. But he was witty, learned, and natural. He was never known to
laugh, while he convulsed the circles into which he was thrown. He was
rough to his servants, insolent to inferiors, and sycophantic to men
of rank. His distinguishing power was his unsparing and unscrupulous
sarcasm and his invective was as dreadful as the personal ridicule of
Voltaire. As a poet he was respectable, and as a writer he was
original. He was indifferent to literary fame, and never attempted any
higher style of composition than that in which he could excel. His
last days were miserable, and he lingered a long while in hopeless and
melancholy idiocy.

[Sidenote: Pope--Bolingbroke--Gay--Prior.]

Pope properly belongs to a succeeding age, though his first writings
attracted considerable attention during the life of Addison, who first
raised him from obscurity. He is the greatest, after Dryden, of all
the second class poets of his country. His Rape of the Lock, the most
original of his poems, established his fame. But his greatest works
were the translations of the Iliad and Odyssey, the Dunciad, and his
Essay on Man. He was well paid for his labors, and lived in a
beautiful villa at Twickenham, the friend of Bolingbroke, and the
greatest literary star of his age. But he was bitter and satirical,
irritable, parsimonious, and vain. As a versifier, he has never been
equalled. He died in 1744, in the Romish faith, beloved but by few,
and disliked by the world generally.

[Sidenote: Writers of the Age of Queen Anne.]

Bolingbroke was not a poet, but a man of vast genius, a great
statesman, and a great writer on history and political philosophy, a
man of most fascinating manners and conversation, brilliant, witty,
and learned, but unprincipled and intriguing, the great leader of the
Tory party. Gay, as a poet, was respectable, but poor, unfortunate, a
hanger on of great people, and miserably paid for his sycophancy. His
fame rests on his Fables and his Beggar's Opera. Prior first made
himself distinguished by his satire called A City Mouse and a Country
Mouse, aimed against Dryden. He was well rewarded by government, and
was sent as minister to Paris. Like most of the wits of his time, he
was convivial, and not always particular in the choice of his
associates. Humor was the natural turn of his mind. Steele was editor
of the Spectator and wrote some excellent papers, although vastly
inferior to Addison's. He is the father of the periodical essay, was a
man of fashion and pleasure, and had great experience in the follies
and vanities of the world. It is doubtful whether the writings of the
great men who adorned the age of Anne will ever regain the ascendency
they once enjoyed, since they have all been surpassed in succeeding
times. They had not the fire, enthusiasm, or genius which satisfies
the wants of the present generation. As poets, they had no greatness
of fancy; and as philosophers, they were cold and superficial. Nor did
they write for the people, but for the great, with whom they sought to
associate, by whose praises they were consoled, and by whose bread
they were sustained. They wrote for a class, and that class alone,
that chiefly seeks to avoid ridicule and abstain from absurdity, that
never attempts the sublime, and never sinks to the ridiculous; a class
keen of observation, fond of the satirical, and indifferent to all
institutions and enterprises which have for their object the elevation
of the masses, or the triumph of the abstract principles of truth and

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Lord Mahon's History of England, which
     commences with the peace of Utrecht, is one of the most
     useful and interesting works which have lately appeared.
     Smollett's continuation of Hume should be consulted,
     although the author was greater as a novelist than as an
     historian. Burnet's history on this period is a standard.
     Hallam should be read in reference to all constitutional
     questions. Coxe's Life of Marlborough throws great light on
     the period, and is very valuable. Macaulay's work will, of
     course, be read. See, also, Bolingbroke's Letters, and the
     Duke of Berwick's Memoirs. A chapter in the Pictorial
     History is very good as to literary history and the progress
     of the arts and sciences. See, also, Johnson's Lives of the
     Poets; Nichols's Life of Addison; Scott's Life of Swift;
     Macaulay's Essay on Addison; and the Spectator and Tatler.



[Sidenote: Early History of Russia.]

While Louis XIV. was prosecuting his schemes of aggrandizement, and
William III. was opposing those schemes; while Villeroy, Villars,
Marlborough, and Eugene were contending, at the head of great armies,
for their respective masters; a new power was arising at the north,
destined soon to become prominent among the great empires of the
world. The political importance of Russia was not appreciated at the
close of the seventeenth century, until the great resources of the
country were brought to the view of Europe by the extraordinary genius
of Peter the Great.

The history of Russia, before the reign of this great prince, has not
excited much interest, and is not particularly eventful or important.
The Russians are descended from the ancient Sclavonic race, supposed
to be much inferior to the Germanic or Teutonic tribes, to whom most
of the civilized nations of Europe trace their origin.

The first great event in Russian history is the nominal conversion of
a powerful king to Christianity, in the tenth century, named Vladimir,
whose reign was a mixture of cruelty, licentiousness, and heroism.
Seeing the necessity of some generally recognized religion, he sent
ten of his most distinguished men into all the various countries then
known, to examine their religious systems. Being semi-barbarians, they
were disposed to recommend that form which had the most imposing
ceremonial, and appealed most forcibly to the senses. The
commissioners came to Mecca, but soon left with contempt, since
Mohammedanism then made too great demands upon the powers of
self-control, and prohibited the use of many things to which the
barbarians were attached. They were no better pleased with the
Manichean philosophy, which then extensively prevailed in the East;
for this involved the settlement of abstract ideas, for which
barbarians had no relish. They disliked Roman Catholicism, on account
of the arrogant claims of the pope. Judaism was spurned, because it
had no country, and its professors were scattered over the face of the
earth. But the lofty minarets of St. Sophia, and the extravagant
magnificence of the Greek worship, filled the commissioners with
admiration; and they easily induced Vladimir to adopt the forms of the
Greek Church; which has ever since been the established religion of
Russia. But Christianity, in its corrupted form, failed to destroy,
and scarcely alleviated, the traits of barbarous life. Old
superstitions and vices prevailed; nor were the Russian territories on
an equality with the Gothic kingdoms of Europe, in manners, arts
learning, laws, or piety.

[Sidenote: The Tartar Conquest.]

When Genghis Khan, with his Tartar hordes, overran the world Russia
was subdued, and Tartar princes took possession of the throne of the
ancient czars. But the Russian princes, in the thirteenth century,
recovered their ancient power. Alexander Nevsky performed exploits of
great brilliancy; gained important victories over Danes, Swedes,
Lithuanians, and Teutonic knights; and greatly enlarged the boundaries
of his kingdom. In the fourteenth century, Moscow became a powerful
city, to which was transferred the seat of government, which before
was Novgorod. Under the successor of Ivan Kalita, the manners, laws,
and institutions of the Russians became fixed, and the absolute power
of the czars was established. Under Ivan III., who ascended the
Muscovite throne in 1462, the Tartar rule was exterminated, and the
various provinces and principalities, of which Russia was composed,
were brought under a central government. The Kremlin, with its mighty
towers and imposing minarets, arose in all the grandeur of Eastern art
and barbaric strength. The mines of the country were worked, the roads
cleared of banditti, and a code of laws established. The veil which
concealed Russia from the rest of Europe was rent. An army of three
hundred thousand men was enlisted, Siberia was discovered, the
printing press introduced, and civilization commenced. But the czar
was, nevertheless, a brutal tyrant and an abandoned libertine, who
massacred his son, executed his nobles, and destroyed his cities.

His successors were disgraced by every crime which degrades humanity;
and the whole population remained in rudeness and barbarism,
superstition and ignorance. The clergy wielded enormous power; which,
however, was rendered subservient to the interests of absolutism.

[Sidenote: Accession of Peter the Great.]

Such was Russia, when Peter, the son of Alexis Michaelovitz, ascended
the throne, in 1682--a boy, ten years of age. He early exhibited great
sagacity and talent, but was addicted to gross pleasures. These,
strangely, did not enervate him, or prevent him from making
considerable attainments. But he was most distinguished for a military
spirit, which was treated with contempt by the Regent Sophia, daughter
of Alexis by a first marriage. As soon, however, as her eyes were open
to his varied studies and his ambitious spirit, she became jealous,
and attempted to secure his assassination. In this she failed, and the
youthful sovereign reigned supreme in Moscow, at the age of seventeen.

No sooner did he assume the reins of empire, than his genius blazed
forth with singular brilliancy, and the rapid development of his
powers was a subject of universal wonder. Full of courage and energy,
he found nothing too arduous for him to undertake; and he soon
conceived the vast project of changing the whole system of his
government, and reforming the manners of his subjects.

He first directed his attention to the art of war, and resolved to
increase the military strength of his empire. With the aid of Le Fort,
a Swiss adventurer, and Gordon, a Scotch officer, he instituted,
gradually, a standing army of twenty thousand men, officered, armed,
and disciplined after the European model; cut off the long beards of
the soldiers, took away their robes, and changed their Asiatic dress.

He then conceived the idea of a navy, which may be traced to his love
of sailing in a boat, which he had learned to navigate himself. He
studied assiduously the art of ship-building, and soon laid the
foundation of a navy.

His enterprising and innovating spirit created, as it was to be
expected, considerable disaffection among the partisans of the old
_régime_--the old officers of the army, and the nobles, stripped of
many of their privileges. A rebellion was the consequence; which,
however, was soon suppressed, and the conspirators were executed with
unsparing cruelty.

He then came to the singular resolution of visiting foreign countries,
in order to acquire useful information, both in respect to the arts of
government and the arts of civilization. Many amusing incidents are
recorded of him in his travels. He journeyed incognito; clambered up
the sides of ships, ascended the rigging, and descended into the hold;
he hired himself out as a workman in Holland, lived on the wretched
stipend which he earned as a ship-carpenter, and mastered all the
details of ship-building. From Holland he went to England, where he
was received with great honor by William III.; studied the state of
manufactures and trades, and sought to gain knowledge on all common
subjects. From England he went to Austria, intending to go afterwards
to Italy; but he was compelled to return home, on account of a
rebellion of the old military guard, called the _Strelitz_, who were
peculiarly disaffected. But he easily suppressed the discontents, and
punished the old soldiers with unsparing rigor. He even executed
thirty with his own hands.

[Sidenote: Peter's Reforms.]

He then turned himself, in good earnest, to the work of reform. His
passions were military, and he longed to conquer kingdoms and cities.
But he saw no probability of success, unless he could first civilize
his subjects, and teach the soldiers the great improvements in the art
of war. In order to conquer, he resolved first to reform his nation.
His desires were selfish, but happened to be directed into channels
which benefited his country. Like Napoleon, his ruling passion was
that of the aggrandizement of himself and nation. But Providence
designed that his passions should be made subservient to the welfare
of his race. It is to his glory that he had enlargement of mind
sufficient to perceive the true sources of national prosperity. To
secure this, therefore, became the aim of his life. He became a
reformer; but a reformer, like Hildebrand, of the despotic school.

The first object of all despots is the improvement of the military
force. To effect this, he abolished the old privileges of the
soldiers, disbanded them, and drafted them into the new regiments,
which he had organized on the European plan.

He found more difficulty in changing the dress of the people, who,
generally, wore the long Asiatic robe, and the Tartar beard; and such
was the opposition made by the people, that he was obliged to
compromise the matter, and compelled all who would wear beards and
robes to pay a heavy tax, except priests and peasants: having granted
the indulgence to priests on account of the ceremonial of their
worship, and to peasants in order to render their costume ignominious.

His next important measure was the toleration of all religions, and
all sects, with the exception of the Jesuits, whom he hated and
feared. He caused the Bible to be translated into the Sclavonic
language; founded a school for the marine, and also institutions for
the encouragement of literature and art. He abolished the old and
odious laws of marriage, by which women had no liberty in the choice
of husbands. He suppressed all useless monasteries; taxed the clergy
as well as the laity; humiliated the patriarch, and assumed many of
his powers. He improved the administration of justice, mitigated laws
in relation to woman, and raised her social rank. He established
post-offices, boards of trade, a vigorous police, hospitals and
almshouses. He humbled the nobility, and abolished many of their
privileges; for which the people honored him, and looked upon him as
their benefactor.

Having organized his army, and effected social reforms, he turned his
attention to war and national aggrandizement.

[Sidenote: His War with Charles XII.]

[Sidenote: Charles XII.]

His first war was with Sweden, then the most powerful of the northern
states, and ruled by Charles XII., who, at the age of eighteen, had
just ascended the throne. The _cause_ of the war was the desire of
aggrandizement on the part of the czar; the _pretence_ was, the
restitution of some lands which Sweden had obtained from Denmark
and Poland. Taking advantage of the defenceless state of
Sweden,--attacked, at that time, by Denmark on the one side, and by
Poland on the other,--Peter invaded the territories of Charles with an
army of sixty thousand men, and laid siege to Narva. The Swedish
forces were only twenty thousand; but they were veterans, and they
were headed by a hero. Notwithstanding the great disproportion between
the contending parties, the Russians were defeated, although attacked
in their intrenchments, and all the artillery fell into the hands of
the Swedes. The victory at Narva settled the fame of Charles, but
intoxicated his mind, and led to a presumptuous self-confidence; while
the defeat of Peter did not discourage him, but braced him to make
still greater exertions--one of the numerous instances, so often seen
in human life, where defeat is better than victory. But the czar was
conscious of his strength, and also of his weakness. He knew he had
unlimited resources, but that his troops were inexperienced; and he
made up his mind for disasters at the beginning, in the hope of
victory in the end. "I know very well," said he, "that the Swedes will
have the advantage over us for a considerable time; but they will
teach us, at length, to beat them." The Swede, on the other hand, was
intoxicated with victory, and acquired that fatal presumption which
finally proved disastrous to himself and to his country. He despised
his adversary; while Peter, without overrating his victorious enemy,
was led to put forth new energies, and develop the great resources of
his nation. He was sure of final success; and he who can be sustained
by the consciousness of ultimate triumph, can ever afford to wait. It
is the spirit which sustains the martyr. It constitutes the
distinguishing element of enthusiasm and exalted heroism.

But Peter not only made new military preparations, but prosecuted his
schemes of internal improvement, and projected, after his unfortunate
defeat at Narva, the union, by a canal, of the Baltic and Caspian
Seas. About this time, he introduced into Russia flocks of Saxony
sheep, erected linen and paper manufactories, built hospitals, and
invited skilful mechanics, of all trades, to settle in his kingdom.
But Charles thought only of war and glory, and did not reconstruct or
reproduce. He pursued his military career by invading Poland, then
ruled by the Elector of Saxony; while Peter turned his attention to
the organization of new armies, melting bells into cannon,
constructing fleets, and attending to all the complicated cares of a
mighty nation with the most minute assiduity. He drew plans of
fortresses, projected military reforms, and inspired his soldiers with
his own enthusiasm. And his energy and perseverance were soon
rewarded. He captured Marianburgh, a strong city on the confines of
Livonia and Ingria, and among the captives was a young peasant girl,
who eventually became the Empress Catharine, and to whose counsels
Peter was much indebted for his great success.

She was the daughter of a poor woman of Livonia; lost her mother at
the age of three years; and, at that early age, attracted the notice
of the parish clerk, a Lutheran clergyman: was brought up with his own
daughters, and married a young sergeant of the army, who was killed in
the capture of the city. She interested the Russian general, by her
intense grief and great beauty; was taken into his family, and, soon
after, won the favor of Prince Menzikoff, the prime minister of the
czar; became mistress of his palace; there beheld Peter himself,
captivated him, and was married to him,--at first privately, and
afterwards publicly. Her rise, from so obscure a position, in a
distant country town, to be the wife of the absolute monarch of an
empire of thirty-three millions of people, is the most extraordinary
in the history of the world. When she enslaved the czar by the power
of her charms, she was only seventeen years of age; two years after
the foundations of St. Petersburg were laid.

[Sidenote: Building of St. Petersburg.]

The building of this great northern capital was as extraordinary as
the other great acts of this monarch. Amid the marshes, at the mouth
of the Neva, a rival city to the ancient metropolis of the empire
arose in five months. But one hundred thousand people perished during
the first year, in consequence of the severity of their labors, and
the pestilential air of the place. The new city was an object of as
great disgust to the nobles of Russia and the inhabitants of the older
cities, as it was the delight and pride of the czar, who made it the
capital of his vast dominions. And the city was scarcely built, before
its great commercial advantages were appreciated; and vessels from all
parts of the world, freighted with the various treasures of its
different kingdoms and countries, appeared in the harbor of Cronstadt.

Charles XII. looked with contempt on the Herculean labors of his rival
to civilize and enrich his country, and remarked "that the czar might
amuse himself as he saw fit in building a city, but that he should
soon take it from him, and set fire to his wooden house;" a bombastic
boast, which, like most boasting, came most signally to nought.

[Sidenote: New War with Sweden.]

Indeed, success now turned in favor of Peter, whose forces had been
constantly increasing, while those of Charles had been decreasing.
City after city fell into the hands of Peter, and whole provinces were
conquered from Sweden. Soon all Ingria was added to the empire of the
czar, the government of which was intrusted to Menzikoff, a man of
extraordinary abilities raised from obscurity, as a seller of pies in
the streets of Moscow to be a prince of the empire. His elevation was
a great mortification to the old and proud nobility. But Peter not
only endeavored to reward and appropriate merit, but to humble the old
aristocracy, who were averse to his improvements. And Peter was as
cold and haughty to them, as he was free and companionable with his
meanest soldiers. All great despots are indifferent to grades of rank,
when their own elevation is above envy or the reach of ambition. The
reward of merit by the czar, if it alienated the affections of his
nobles, increased the veneration and enthusiasm of the people, who
are, after all, the great permanent foundation on which absolute power
rests; illustrated by the empire of the popes, as well as the
despotism of Napoleon.

While Peter contended, with various success, with the armies of
Sweden, he succeeded in embroiling Sweden in a war with Poland, and in
diverting Charles from the invasion of Russia. Had Charles, at first,
and perseveringly, concentrated all his strength in an invasion of
Russia, he might have changed the politics of Europe. But he was
induced to invade Poland, and soon drove the luxurious and cowardly
monarch from his capital and throne, and then turned towards Russia,
to play the part of Alexander. But he did not find a Darius in the
czar, who was ready to meet him, at the head of immense armies.

The Russian forces amounted to one hundred thousand men; the Swedish
to eighty thousand, and they were veterans. Peter did not venture to
risk the fate of his empire, by a pitched battle, with such an army of
victorious troops. So he attempted a stratagem, and succeeded. He
decoyed the Swedes into a barren and wasted territory; and Charles,
instead of marching to Moscow, as he ought to have done, followed his
expected prey where he could get no provisions for his men, or forage
for his horses. Exhausted by fatigue and famine, his troops drooped in
the pursuit, and even suffered themselves to be diverted into still
more barren sections. Under these circumstances, they were defeated in
a disastrous battle. Charles, struck with madness, refused to retreat.
Disasters multiplied. The victorious Russians hung upon his rear. The
Cossacks cut off his stragglers. The army of eighty thousand melted
away to twenty-five thousand. Still the infatuated Swede dreamed of
victory, and expected to see the troops of his enemy desert. The
winter set in with its northern severity, and reduced still further
his famished troops. He lost time by marches and counter-marches,
without guides, and in the midst of a hostile population. At last he
reached Pultowa, a village on the banks of the Vorskla. Peter hastened
to meet him, with an army of sixty thousand, and one of the bloodiest
battles in the history of war was fought. The Swedes performed
miracles of valor. But valor could do nothing against overwhelming
strength. A disastrous defeat was the result, and Charles, with a few
regiments, escaped to Turkey.

Had the battle of Pultowa been decided differently; had Charles
conquered instead of Peter, or had Peter lost his life, the empire of
Russia would probably have been replunged into its original barbarism,
and the balance of power, in Europe, been changed.

[Sidenote: War with the Turks.]

But Providence, which ordained the civilization of Russia, also
ordained that the triumphant czar should not be unduly aggrandized,
and should himself learn lessons of humility. The Turks, in
consequence of the intrigues of Charles, and their hereditary
jealousy, made war upon Peter, and advanced against him with an army
of two hundred and fifty thousand men. His own army was composed of
only forty thousand. He was also indiscreet, and soon found himself in
the condition of Charles at Pultowa. On the banks of the Pruth, in
Moldavia, he was surrounded by the whole Turkish force, and famine or
surrender seemed inevitable. It was in this desperate and deplorable
condition that he was rescued by the Czarina Catharine, by whose
address a treaty was made with his victorious enemy, and Peter was
allowed to retire with his army. Charles XII. was indignant beyond
measure with the Turkish general, for granting such easy conditions,
when he had the czar in his power; and to his reproaches the vizier of
the sultan replied, "I have a right to make peace or war; and our law
commands us to grant peace to our enemies, when they implore our
clemency." Charles replied with an insult; and, though a fugitive in
the Turkish camp, he threw himself on a sofa, contemptuously cast his
eye on all present, stretched out his leg, and entangled his spur in
the vizier's robe; which insult the magnanimous Turk affected to
consider an accident.

After the defeat of Peter on the banks of the Pruth, he devoted
himself with renewed energy to the improvement of his country. He
embellished St. Petersburg, his new capital, with palaces, churches,
and arsenals. He increased his army and navy, strengthened himself by
new victories, and became gradually master of both sides of the Gulf
of Finland, by which his vast empire was protected from invasion.

[Sidenote: Peter Makes a Second Tour.]

He now reached the exalted height to which he had long aspired. He
assumed the title of _emperor_, and his title was universally
acknowledged. He then meditated a second tour of Europe, with a view
to study the political constitutions of the various states. Thirteen
years had elapsed, since, as a young enthusiast, he had visited
Amsterdam and London. He now travelled, a second time, with the
additional glory of a great name, and in the full maturity of his
mind. He visited Hamburg, Stockholm, Lubec, Amsterdam, and Paris. At
this latter place he was much noticed. Wherever he went, his course
was a triumphal procession. But he disdained flattery, and was wearied
with pompous ceremonies. He could not be flattered out of his
simplicity, or the zeal of acquiring useful knowledge. He visited all
the works of art, and was particularly struck with the Gobelin
tapestries and the tomb of Richelieu. "Great man," said he,
apostrophizing his image, "I would give half of my kingdom to learn of
thee how to govern the other half." His residence in Paris inspired
all classes with profound respect; and from Paris he went to Berlin.
There he found sympathy with Frederic William, whose tastes and
character somewhat resembled his own; and from him he learned many
useful notions in the art of government. But he was suddenly recalled
from Berlin by the bad conduct of his son Alexis, who was the heir to
his throne. He was tried, condemned, disgraced, humiliated, and
disinherited. He probably would have been executed by his hard and
rigorous father, had he not died in prison. He was hostile to his
father's plans of reform, and indecently expressed a wish for his
death. The conduct of Peter towards him is generally considered harsh
and unfeeling; but it has many palliations, if the good of his
subjects and the peace of the realm are more to be desired than the
life of an ignominious prince.

Peter prosecuted his wars and his reforms. The treaty of Neustadt
secured to Russia, after twenty years of unbroken war, a vast increase
of territory, and placed her at the head of the northern powers. The
emperor also enriched his country by opening new branches of trade,
constructing canals, rewarding industry, suppressing gambling and
mendicity, introducing iron and steel manufacture, building cities,
and establishing a vigorous police.

[Sidenote: Elevation of Catharine.]

After having settled the finances and trade of his empire, subdued his
enemies at home and abroad, and compelled all the nobles and clergy to
swear fealty to the person whom he should select as his successor, he
appointed his wife, Catharine; and she was solemnly crowned empress in
1724, he himself, at her inauguration, walking on foot, as captain of
her guard. He could not have made a better choice, as she was, in all
substantial respects, worthy of the exalted position to which she was

In about a year after, he died, leaving behind him his principles and
a mighty name. Other kings have been greater generals; but few have
derived from war greater success. Some have commanded larger armies;
but he created those which he commanded. Many have destroyed; but he
reconstructed. He was a despot, but ruled for the benefit of his
country. He was disgraced by violent passions, his cruelty was
sanguinary, and his tastes were brutal; but his passions did not
destroy his judgment, nor his appetites make him luxurious. He was
incessantly active and vigilant, his prejudices were few, and his
views tolerant and enlightened. He was only cruel when his authority
was impeached. His best portraiture is in his acts. He found a country
semi-barbarous, convulsed by disorders, a prey to petty tyrannies,
weak from disunion, and trembling before powerful neighbors. He left
it a first-class power, freed in a measure from its barbarous customs,
improved in social life, in arts, in science, and, perhaps, in morals.
He left a large and disciplined army, a considerable navy, and
numerous institutions for the civilization of the people. He left
more--the moral effect of a great example, of a man in the possession
of unbounded riches and power, making great personal sacrifices to
improve himself in the art of governing for the welfare of the
millions over whom he was called to rule. These virtues and these acts
have justly won for him the title of Peter the _Great_--a title which
the world has bestowed upon but few of the great heroes of ancient or
modern times.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Early History of Sweden.]

The reign of Charles XII. is intimately connected with that of Peter
the Great; these monarchs being contemporaries and rivals, both
reigning in northern countries of great extent and comparative
barbarism. The reign of Peter was not so exclusively military as that
of Charles, with whom war was a passion and a profession. The interest
attached to Charles arises more from his eccentricities and brilliant
military qualities, than from any extraordinary greatness of mind or
heart. He was barbarous in his manners, and savage in his resentments;
a stranger to the pleasures of society, obstinate, revengeful,
unsympathetic, and indifferent to friendship and hatred. But he was
brave, temperate, generous, intrepid in danger, and firm in

Before his singular career can be presented, attention must be
directed to the country over which he reigned, and which will be
noticed in connection with Denmark; these two countries forming a
greater part of the ancient Scandinavia, from which our Teutonic
ancestors migrated, the land of Odin, and Frea, and Thor, those
half-fabulous deities, concerning whom there are still divided
opinions; some supposing that they were heroes, and others,
impersonations of virtues, or elements and wonders of nature.
The mythology of Greece does not more fully abound with gods and
goddesses, than that of the old Scandinavia with rude deities,--dwarfs,
and elfs, and mountain spirits. It was in these northern regions that
the Normans acquired their wild enthusiasm, their supernatural daring,
and their magnificent superstitions. It was from these regions that
the Saxons brought their love of liberty, their spirit of enterprise,
and their restless passion for the sea. The ancient Scandinavians were
heroic, adventurous, and chivalrous robbers, holding their women in
great respect, and profoundly reverential in their notions of a
supreme power. They were poor in silver, in gold, in the fruits of the
earth, in luxuries, and in palaces, but rich in poetic sentiments and
in religious ideas. Their chief vices were those of gluttony and
intemperance, and their great pleasures were those of hunting and

Fabulous as are most of their legends as to descent, still Scandinavia
was probably peopled with hardy races before authentic history
commences. Under different names, and at different times, they invaded
the Roman empire. In the fifth century, they had settled in its
desolated provinces--the Saxons in England, the Goths in Spain and
Italy, the Vandals in Africa, the Burgundians in France, and the
Lombards in Italy.

Among the most celebrated of these northern Teutonic nations were the
pirates who invaded England and France, under the name of _Northmen_.
They came from Denmark, and some of their chieftains won a great name
in their generation, such as Harold, Canute, Sweyn, and Rollo.

[Sidenote: Introduction of Christianity.]

Christianity was probably planted in Sweden about the middle of the
ninth century. St. Anscar, a Westphalian monk, was the first
successful missionary, and he was made Archbishop of Hamburg, and
primate of the north.

The early history of the Swedes and Danes resembles that of England
under the Saxon princes, and they were disgraced by the same great
national vices. During the Middle Ages, no great character appeared
worthy of especial notice. Some of the more powerful kings, such as
Valdemar I. and II., and Canute VI., had quarrels with the Emperors of
Germany, and invaded some provinces of their empire. Some of these
princes were warriors, some cruel tyrants, none very powerful, and all
characterized by the vices of their age--treachery, hypocrisy, murder,
drunkenness, and brutal revenge.

The most powerful of these kings was Christian I., who founded the
dynasty of Oldenburgh, and who united under his sway the kingdoms of
Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. He reigned from 1448 to 1481; and in his
family the crown of Sweden remained until the revolution effected by
Gustavus Vasa, in 1525, and by which revolution Sweden was made
independent of Denmark.

[Sidenote: Gustavus Vasa.]

Gustavus Vasa was a nobleman descended from the ancient kings of
Sweden, and who, from the oppression to which his country was
subjected by Christian and the Archbishop of Upsal, was forced to seek
refuge amid the forests of Dalecarlia. When Stockholm was pillaged and
her noblest citizens massacred by the cruel tyrant of the country,
Gustavus headed an insurrection, defeated the king's forces, and was
made king himself by the Diet. He, perceiving that the Catholic clergy
were opposed to the liberties and the great interests of his country,
seized their fortresses and lands, became a convert to the doctrine of
the reformers, and introduced Lutheranism into the kingdom, which has
ever since been the established religion of Sweden. He was despotic in
his government, but ruled for the good of his subjects, and was
distinguished for many noble qualities.

The celebrated Gustavus Adolphus was his descendant, and was more
absolute and powerful than even Gustavus Vasa. But he is chiefly
memorable as the great hero of the Thirty Years' War, and as the
greatest general of his age. Under his sway, Sweden was the most
powerful of the northern kingdoms.

He was succeeded by his daughter Christina, a woman of most
extraordinary qualities; a woman of genius, of taste, and of culture;
a woman who, at twenty-seven, became wearied of the world, and of the
enjoyment of unlimited power, and who changed her religion, retired
from her country, and abdicated her throne, that she might,
unmolested, enjoy the elegant pleasures of Rome, and be solaced by the
literature, religion, and art of that splendid capital. It was in the
society of men of genius that she spent most of her time, and was the
life of the most intellectual circle which then existed in Europe.

She was succeeded by her cousin, who was elected King of Sweden, by
the title of _Charles Gustavus X._, and he was succeeded by Charles
XI., the father of Charles XII.

Charles XII. was fifteen years of age when he came to the throne, in
the year 1697, and found his country strong in resources, and his army
the best disciplined in Europe. His territories were one third larger
than those of France when ruled by Louis XIV., though not so thickly

[Sidenote: Early Days of Charles XII.]

The young monarch, at first, gave but few indications of the
remarkable qualities which afterwards distinguished him. He was idle,
dissipated, haughty, and luxurious. When he came to the council
chamber, he was absent and indifferent, and generally sat with both
legs thrown across the table.

But his lethargy and indifference did not last long. Three great
monarchs had conspired to ruin him, and dismember his kingdom. These
were the Czar Peter, Frederic IV. of Denmark, and Frederic Augustus,
King of Poland, and also Elector of Saxony; and their hostile armies
were on the point of invading his country.

The greatness of the danger brought to light his great qualities. He
vigorously prepared for war. His whole character changed. Quintus
Curtius became his text-book, and Alexander his model. He spent no
time in sports or magnificence. He clothed himself like a common
soldier, whose hardships he resolved henceforth to share. He forswore
the society and the influence of woman. He relinquished wine and all
the pleasures of the table. Love of glory became his passion, and
continued through life; and this ever afterwards made him insensible
to reproach, danger, toil, fear, hunger, and pain. Never was a more
complete change effected in a man's moral character; and never was an
improved moral character consecrated to a worse end. He was not
devoted to the true interests of his country, but to a selfish, base,
and vain passion for military fame.

But his conduct, at first, called forth universal admiration. His
glorious and successful defence against enemies apparently
overwhelming gave him a great military reputation, and secured for him
the sympathies of Christendom. Had he died when he had repelled the
Russian, the Danish, and the Polish armies, he would have secured as
honorable an immortality as that of Gustavus Adolphus. But he was not
permitted to die prematurely, as was his great ancestor. He lived long
enough to become intoxicated with success, to make great political
blunders, and to suffer the most fatal and mortifying misfortunes.

The commencement of his military career was beautifully heroic.
"Gentlemen," said the young monarch of eighteen to his counsellors,
when he meditated desperate resistance, "I am resolved never to begin
an unjust war, and never to finish a just one but with the destruction
of my enemies."

[Sidenote: Charles's Heroism.]

In six weeks he finished, after he had begun, the Danish war having
completely humbled his enemy, and succored his brother-in-law, the
Duke of Holstein.

His conflict with Peter has been presented, when with twenty thousand
men he attacked and defeated sixty thousand Russians in their
intrenchments, took one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, and killed
eighteen thousand men. The victory of Narva astonished all Europe, and
was the most brilliant which had then been gained in the annals of
modern warfare.

Charles was equally successful against Frederic Augustus. He routed
his Saxon troops, and then resolved to dethrone him, as King of
Poland. And he succeeded so far as to induce the Polish Diet to
proclaim the throne vacant. Augustus was obliged to fly, and
Stanislaus Leczinski was chosen king in his stead, at the nomination
of the Swedish conqueror. The country was subjugated, and Frederic
Augustus became a fugitive.

But Charles was not satisfied with expelling him from Poland. He
resolved to attack him also in Saxony itself. Saxony was then, next to
Austria, the most powerful of the German states. Nevertheless, Saxony
could not arrest the victorious career of Charles. The Saxons fled as
he approached. He penetrated to the heart of the electorate, and the
unfortunate Frederic Augustus was obliged to sue for peace, which was
only granted on the most humiliating terms; which were, that the
elector should acknowledge Stanislaus as king of Poland; that he
should break all his treaties with Russia, and should deliver to the
King of Sweden all the men who had deserted from his army. The humbled
elector sought a personal interview with Charles, after he had signed
the conditions of peace, with the hope of securing better terms. He
found Charles in his jack boots, with a piece of black taffeta round
his neck for a cravat, and clothed in a coarse blue coat with brass
buttons. His conversation turned wholly on his jack boots; and this
trifling subject was the only one on which he would deign to converse
with one of the most accomplished monarchs of his age.

Charles had now humbled and defeated all his enemies. He should now
have returned to Sweden, and have cultivated the arts of peace. But
peace and civilization were far from his thoughts. The subjugation of
all the northern powers became the dream of his life. He invaded
Russia, resolved on driving Peter from his throne.

[Sidenote: His Misfortunes.]

He was eminently successful in defensive war, and eminently
unsuccessful in aggressive war. Providence benevolently but singularly
comes to the aid of all his children in distress and despair. Men are
gloriously strong in defending their rights; but weak, in all their
strength, when they assail the rights of others. So signal is this
fact, that it blazes upon all the pages of history, and is illustrated
in common life as well as in the affairs of nations.

When Charles turned as an assailant of the rights of his enemies, his
unfortunate reverses commenced. At the head of forty-three thousand
veterans, loaded with the spoils of Poland and Saxony, he commenced
his march towards Russia. He had another army in Poland of twenty
thousand, and another in Finland of fifteen thousand. With these he
expected to dethrone the czar.

His mistakes and infatuation have been noticed, and his final defeat
at Pultowa, a village at the eastern extremity of the Ukraine. This
battle was more decisive than that of Narva; for in the latter the
career of Peter was only arrested, but in the former the strength of
Charles was annihilated. And so would have been his hopes, had he been
an ordinary man. But he was a madman, and still dreamed of victory,
with only eighteen hundred men to follow his fortunes into Turkey,
which country he succeeded in reaching.

His conduct in Turkey was infamous and extraordinary. No reasonings
can explain it. It was both ridiculous and provoking. At first, he
employed himself in fomenting quarrels, and devising schemes to embark
the sultan in his cause. Vizier after vizier was flattered and
assailed. He rejected every overture for his peaceable return. He
lingered five years in endless intrigues and negotiations, in order to
realize the great dream of his life--the dethronement of the czar. He
lived recklessly on the bounty of the sultan, taking no hints that
even imperial hospitality might be abused and exhausted. At last, his
inflexible obstinacy and dangerous intrigues so disgusted his generous
host, that he was urged to return, with the offer of a suitable
escort, and a large sum of money. He accepted and spent the twelve
hundred purses, and still refused to return. The displeasure of the
Sultan Achmet was now fairly excited. It was resolved upon by the
Porte that he should be removed by force, since he would not be
persuaded. But Charles resisted the troops of the sultan who were
ordered to remove him. With sixty servants he desperately defended
himself against an army of janizaries, and killed twenty of them with
his own hand; and it was not until completely overwhelmed and
prostrated that he hurled his sword into the air. He was now a
prisoner of war, and not a guest; but still he was treated with the
courtesy and dignity due to a king, and conducted in a chariot covered
with gold and scarlet to Adrianople. From thence he was removed to
Demotica, where he renewed his intrigues, and zealously kept his bed,
under pretence of sickness, for ten months.

While he remained in captivity, Frederic Augustus recovered the crown
of Poland, King Stanislaus was taken by the Turks, and Peter continued
his conquest of Ingria, Livonia, and Finland, provinces belonging to
Sweden. The King of Prussia also invaded Pomerania, and Frederic IV.
of Denmark claimed Bremen, Holstein, and Scania. The Swedes were
divested of all their conquests, and one hundred and fifty thousand of
them became prisoners in foreign lands.

Such were the reverses of a man who had resolved to play the part of
Alexander, but who, so long as he contented himself with defending his
country against superior forces, was successful, and won a fame so
great, that his misfortunes could never reduce him to contempt.

[Sidenote: Charles's Return to Sweden.]

When all was lost, he signified to the Turkish vizier his desire to
return to Sweden. The vizier neglected no means to rid his master of
so troublesome a person. Charles returned to his country impoverished,
but not discouraged. The charm of his name was broken. His soldiers
were as brave and devoted as ever, but his resources were exhausted.
He succeeded, however, in raising thirty-five thousand men, in order
to continue his desperate game of conquest, not of defence. Europe
beheld the extraordinary spectacle of this infatuated hero passing, in
the depth of a northern winter, over the frozen hills and ice-bound
rocks of Norway, with his devoted army, in order to conquer that
hyperborean region. So inured was he to cold and fatigue, that he
slept in the open air on a bed of straw, covered only with his cloak,
while his soldiers dropped down dead at their posts from cold. In the
month of December, 1718, he commenced the siege of Fredericshall, a
place of great strength and importance, but, having exposed himself
unnecessarily, was killed by a ball from the fortress. Many, however,
suppose that he was assassinated by his own officers who were wearied
with endless war, from which they saw nothing but disaster to their
exhausted country.

[Sidenote: His Death.]

His death was considered as a signal for the general cessation of
arms; but Sweden never recovered from the mad enterprises of
Charles XII. It has never since been a first class power. The national
finances were disordered, the population decimated, and the provinces
dismembered. Peter the Great gained what his rival lost. We cannot but
compassionate a nation that has the misfortune to be ruled by such an
absolute and infatuated monarch as was Charles XII. He did nothing for
the civilization of his subjects, or to ameliorate the evils he
caused. He was, like Alaric or Attila, a scourge of the Almighty, sent
on earth for some mysterious purpose, to desolate and to destroy. But
he died unlamented and unhonored. No great warrior in modern times has
received so little sympathy from historians, since he was not exalted
by any great moral qualities of affection or generosity, and
unscrupulously sacrificed both friends and enemies to gratify a
selfish and a depraved passion.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Voltaire's History of Russia, a very attractive
     book, on account of its lively style. Voltaire's Life of
     Charles XII., also, is equally fascinating. There are
     tolerable histories of both Russia and Sweden in Lardner's
     Cabinet Cyclopedia; also in the Family Library. See, also, a
     History of Russia and Sweden in the Universal History.
     Russell's Modern Europe.



[Sidenote: Accession of George I.]

Queen Anne died in 1714, soon after the famous treaty of Utrecht was
made, and by which the war of the Spanish Succession was closed. She
was succeeded by George I., Elector of Hanover. He was grandson of
Elizabeth, only daughter of James I., who had married Frederic, the
King of Bohemia. He was fifty-four years of age when he ascended the
English throne, and imperfectly understood the language of the nation
whom he was called upon to govern.

George I. was not a sovereign who materially affected the interests or
destiny of England; nor was he one of those interesting characters
that historians love to delineate. It is generally admitted that he
was respectable, prudent, judicious, and moral; amiable in his temper,
sincere in his intercourse, and simple in his habits,--qualities which
command respect, but not those which dazzle the people. It is supposed
that he tolerably understood the English Constitution, and was willing
to be fettered by the restraints which the parliaments imposed. He
supported the Whigs,--the dominant party of the time,--and sympathized
with liberal principles, so far as a monarch can be supposed to
advance the interests of the people, and the power of a class ever
hostile to the prerogatives of royalty. He acquiesced in the rule of
his ministers--just what was expected of him, and just what was wanted
of him; and became--what every King of England, when popular, has
since been--the gilded puppet of a powerful aristocracy. His social
and constitutional influence was not, indeed, annihilated; he had the
choice of ministers, and collected around his throne the great and
proud, who looked to him as the fountain of all honor and dignity.
But, still, from the accession of the house of Hanover the political
history of England is a history of the acts of parliaments, and of
those ministers who represented the dominant parties of the nation.
Few nobles were as great as some under the Tudor and Stuart princes;
but the power of the aristocracy, as a class, was increased. From the
time of George I. to Queen Victoria, the ascendency of the parliaments
has been most marked composed chiefly of nobles, great landed
proprietors, and gigantic commercial monopolists. The people have not
been, indeed, unheard or unrepresented; but, literally speaking, have
had but a feeble influence, compared with the aristocracy. Parliaments
and ministers, therefore, may be not unjustly said to be the
representatives of the aristocracy--of the wise, the mighty, and the

When power passes from kings to nobles, then the acts of nobles
constitute the genius of political history, as fully as the acts of
kings constitute history when kings are absolute, and the acts of the
people constitute history where the people are all-powerful.

[Sidenote: Sir Robert Walpole.]

A notice, therefore, of that great minister who headed the Whig party
of aristocrats, and who, as their organ, swayed the councils of
England for nearly forty years, demands our attention. His political
career commenced during the reign of Anne, and continued during the
reign of George I., and part of the reign of George II. George I., as
a man or as a king, dwindled into insignificance, when compared with
his prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. And he is great, chiefly, as
the representative of the Whigs; that is, of the dominant party of
rich and great men who sat in parliament; a party of politicians who
professed more liberal principles than the Tories, but who were
equally aristocratic in the social sympathies, and powerful from
aristocratic connections. What did the great Dukes of Devonshire or
Bedford care for the poor people, who, politically, composed no part
of the nation? But they were Whigs, and King George himself was a

Sir Robert belonged to an ancient, wealthy, and honorable family; was
born 1676, and received his first degree at King's College, Cambridge,
in 1700. He entered parliament almost immediately after, became an
active member, sat on several committees, and soon distinguished
himself for his industry and ability. He was not eloquent, but
acquired considerable skill as a debater. In 1705, Lord Godolphin, the
prime minister of Anne, made him one of the council to Prince George
of Denmark; in 1706, Marlborough selected him as secretary of war; in
1709, he was made treasurer of the navy; and in 1710, he was the
acknowledged leader of the House of Commons. He lost office, however,
when the Whigs lost power, in 1710; was subjected to cruel political
persecution, and even impeached, and imprisoned in the Tower. This
period is memorable for the intense bitterness and severe conflicts
between the Whigs and Tories; not so much on account of difference of
opinion on great political principles, as the struggle for the
possession of place and power.

On the accession of George I., Walpole became paymaster of the forces,
one of the most lucrative offices in the kingdom. Townshend was made
secretary of state. The other great official dignitaries were the
Lords Cowper, Marlborough, Wharton, Sunderland, Devonshire, Oxford, and
Somerset; but Townshend and Walpole were the most influential. They
impeached their great political enemies, Ormond and Bolingbroke, the
most distinguished leaders of the Tory party. Bolingbroke, in genius
and learning, had no equal in parliament, and was a rival of Walpole
at Eton.

[Sidenote: The Pretender.]

The first event of importance, under the new ministry, was the
invasion of Great Britain by the Pretender--the Prince James Frederic
Edward Stuart, only son of James II. His early days were spent at St.
Germain's, the palace which the dethroned monarch enjoyed by the
hospitality of Louis XIV. He was educated under influences entirely
unfavorable to the recovery of his natural inheritance, and was a
devotee to the pope and the interests of absolutism. But he had his
adherents, who were called _Jacobites_, and who were chiefly to be
found in the Highlands of Scotland. In 1705, an unsuccessful effort
had been made to regain the throne of his father, but the disasters
attending it prevented him from milking any renewed effort until the
death of Anne.

When she died, many discontented Tories fanned the spirit of
rebellion; and Bishop Atterbury, a distinguished divine, advocated the
claims of the Pretender. Scotland was ripe for revolt. Alarming riots
took place in England. William III. was burned in effigy at
Smithfield. The Oxford students pulled down a Presbyterian
meeting-house, and the sprig of oak was publicly displayed on the 29th
of May. The Earl of Mar hurried into Scotland to fan the spirit of
insurrection; while the gifted, brilliant, and banished Bolingbroke
joined the standard of the chevalier. The venerable and popular Duke
of Ormond also assisted him with his counsels.

[Sidenote: Invasion of Scotland.]

Advised by these great nobles, assisted by the King of France, and
flattered by the Jacobite faction, the Pretender made preparations to
recover his rights. His prospects were apparently better than were
those of William, when he landed in England. The Earl of Mar was at
the head of ten thousand men; but the chevalier was no general, and
was unequal to his circumstances. When he landed in Scotland, he
surrendered himself to melancholy and inaction. His sadness and
pusillanimity dispirited his devoted band of followers. He retreated
before inferior forces, and finally fled from the country which he had
invaded. The French king was obliged to desert his cause, and the
Pretender retreated to Italy, and died at the advanced age of
seventy-nine, after witnessing the defeat of his son, Charles Edward,
whose romantic career and misfortunes cannot now be mentioned. By the
flight of the Pretender from Scotland, in 1715, the insurrection was
easily suppressed, and the country was not molested by the intrigues
of the Stuart princes for thirty years.

The year which followed the invasion of Scotland was signalized by the
passage of a great bill in parliament, which is one of the most
important events in parliamentary history. In 1716, the famous
Septennial Act, which prolonged parliament from three to seven years,
was passed. So many evils, practically, resulted from frequent
elections, that the Whigs resolved to make a change; and the change
contributed greatly to the tranquillity of the country, and the
establishment of the House of Brunswick. The duration of the English
parliament has ever since, constitutionally, been extended to seven
years, but the average duration of parliaments has been six years--the
term of office of the senators of the United States.

After the passage of the Septennial Act, the efforts of Walpole were
directed to a reduction of the national debt. He was then secretary of
the treasury. But before he could complete his financial reforms, he
was driven from office by the cabals of his colleagues, and the
influence of the king's German favorites and mistresses. The Earl of
Sunderland, who had married a daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, was
at the head of the cabal party, and was much endeared to the Whigs by
his steady attachment to their principles. He had expected, and
probably deserved, to be placed at the head of the administration.
When disappointed, he bent all his energies to undermine Townsend and
Walpole, and succeeded for a while. But Walpole's opposition to the
new administration was so powerful, that it did not last long.
Sunderland had persuaded the king to renounce his constitutional
prerogative of creating peers; and a bill, called the _Peerage Bill_,
was proposed, which limited the House of Lords to its actual existing
number, the tendency of which was to increase the power and rank of
the existing peers, and to raise an eternal bar to the aspirations of
all commoners to the peerage, and thus widen the gulf between the
aristocracy and the people. Walpole presented these consequences so
forcibly, and showed so clearly that the proposed bill would diminish
the consequence of the landed gentry, and prove a grave to honorable
merit, that the Commons were alarmed, and rejected the bill by a large
and triumphant majority of two hundred and sixty-nine to one hundred
and seventy-seven.

The defeat of this bill, and the great financial embarrassments of the
country, led to the restoration of Walpole to office. His genius was
eminently financial, and his talents were precisely those which have
ever since been required of a minister--those which characterized Sir
Robert Peel and William Pitt. The great problem of any government is,
how to raise money for its great necessities; and the more complicated
the relations of society are, the more difficult becomes the problem.

[Sidenote: The South Sea Bubble.]

At that period, the English nation were intoxicated and led astray by
one of those great commercial delusions which so often take place in
all civilized countries. No mania ever was more marked, more
universal, and more fatal than that of the South Sea Company. The
bubble had turned the heads of politicians, merchants, and farmers;
all classes, who had money to invest, took stock in the South Sea
Company. The delusion, however, passed away; England was left on the
brink of bankruptcy, and a master financier was demanded by the
nation, to extricate it from the effects of folly and madness. All
eyes looked to Sir Robert Walpole, and he did all that financial skill
could do, to repair the evils which speculation and gambling had

The desire for sudden wealth is one of the most common passions of our
nature, and has given rise to more delusions than religious
fanaticism, or passion for military glory. The South Sea bubble was
kindred to that of John Law, who was the author of the Mississippi
Scheme, which nearly ruined France in the reign of Louis XV., and
which was encouraged by the Duke of Orleans, as a means of paying off
the national debt.

[Sidenote: The South Sea Company.]

The wars of England had created a national debt, under the
administration of Godolphin and Marlborough; but which was not so
large but that hopes were entertained of redeeming it. Walpole
proposed to pay it off by a sinking fund; but this idea, not very
popular, was abandoned. It was then the custom for government to
borrow of corporations, rather than of bankers, because the science of
brokerage was not then understood, and because no individuals were
sufficiently rich to aid materially an embarrassed administration. As
a remuneration, companies were indulged with certain commercial
advantages. As these advantages enabled companies to become rich, the
nation always found it easy to borrow. During the war of the Spanish
Succession, the prime minister, Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, in
order to raise money, projected the South Sea Company. This was in
1710, and the public debt was ten million pounds sterling, thought at
that time to be insupportable. The interest on that debt was six per
cent. In order to liquidate the debt, Oxford made the duties on wines,
tobacco, India goods, silks, and a few other articles, permanent. And,
to allure the public creditor, great advantages were given to the new
company, and money was borrowed of it at five per cent. This gain of
one per cent., by money borrowed from the company, was to constitute a
sinking fund to pay the debt.

But the necessities of the nation increased so rapidly, that a leading
politician of the day, Sir John Blount, proposed that the South Sea
Company should become the sole national creditor, and should loan to
the government new sums, at an interest of four per cent. New
monopolies were to be given to the company; and it, on the other hand,
offered to give a bonus of three million pounds to the government. The
Bank of England, jealous of the proposal, offered five millions. The
directors of the company then bid seven millions for a charter, nearly
enough to pay off the whole redeemable debt of the nation; which,
however, could not be redeemed, so long as there were, in addition,
irredeemable annuities to the amount of eight hundred thousand pounds
yearly. It became, therefore, an object of the government to get rid,
in the first place, of these irredeemable annuities; and this could be
effected, if the national creditor could be induced to accept of
shares in the South Sea Company, instead of his irredeemable
annuities, or, as they are now variously called, consols, stocks, and
national funds. The capital was not desired; only the interest on
capital. So many monopolies and advantages were granted to the
company, that the stock rose, and the national creditor was willing to
part with his annuities for stock in the company. The offer was,
therefore, accepted, and the government got rid of irredeemable
annuities, and obtained seven millions besides, but became debtor to
the company. A company which could apparently afford to pay so large a
bonus to government for its charter, and loan such large sums as the
nation needed, in addition, at four per cent., was supposed to be
making most enormous profits. Its stock rose rapidly in value. The
national creditor hastened to get rid of irredeemable annuities--a
national stock which paid five per cent.--in order to buy shares which
might pay ten per cent.

[Sidenote: Opposition of Walpole.]

Walpole, then paymaster of the forces, opposed the scheme of Blount
with all his might, showed that the acceptance of the company's
proposal would countenance stockjobbing, would divert industry from
its customary channels, and would hold out a dangerous lure to the
unsuspecting to part with real for imaginary property. He showed the
misery and confusion which existed in France from the adoption of
similar measures, and proved that the whole success of the scheme must
depend on the rise of the company's stock; that, if there were no
rise, the company could not afford the bonus, and would fail, and the
obligation of the nation remain as before. But his reasonings were of
no avail. All classes were infatuated. All people speculated in the
South Sea stock. And, for a while, all people rejoiced; for, as long
as the stock continued to rise, all people were gainers.

And the stock rose rapidly. It soon reached three hundred per cent.
above the original par value, and this in consequence of the promise
of great dividends. All hastened to buy such lucrative property. The
public creditor willingly gave up three hundred pounds of irredeemable
stock for one hundred pounds of the company's stock.

[Sidenote: Mania for Speculation.]

And this would have been well, had there been a moral certainty of the
stockholder receiving a dividend of twenty per cent. But there was not
this certainty, nor even a chance of it. Still, in consequence of the
great dividends promised, even as high as fifty per cent., the stock
gradually rose to one thousand per cent. Such was the general mania.
And such was the extent of it, that thirty-seven millions of pounds
sterling were subscribed on the company's books.

And the rage for speculation extended to all other kinds of property;
and all sorts of companies were formed, some of the shares of which
were at a premium of two thousand per cent. There were companies
formed for fisheries, companies for making salt, for making oil, for
smelting metals, for improving the breed of horses, for the planting
of madder, for building ships against pirates, for the importation of
jackasses, for fattening hogs, for wheels of perpetual motion, for
insuring masters against losses from servants. There was one company
for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but no one knew for
what. The subscriber, by paying two guineas as a deposit, was to have
one hundred pounds per annum for every hundred subscribed. It was
declared, that, in a month, the particulars were to be laid open, and
the remainder of the subscription money was then to be paid.
Notwithstanding this barefaced, swindling scheme, two thousand pounds
were received one morning as a deposit. The next day, the proprietor
was not to be found.

Now, in order to stop these absurd speculations, and yet to monopolize
all the gambling in the kingdom, the directors of the South Sea
Company obtained an act from parliament, empowering them to prosecute
all the various bubble companies that were projected. In a few days,
all these bubbles burst. None were found to be buyers. Stock fell to

[Sidenote: Bursting of the South Sea Bubble.]

But the South Sea Company made a blunder. The moral effect of the
bursting of so many bubbles was to open the eyes of the nation to the
greatest bubble of all. The credit of the South Sea Company declined.
Stocks fell from one thousand per cent to two hundred in a few days.
All wanted to sell, nobody to buy. Bankers and merchants failed, and
nobles and country gentlemen became impoverished.

In this general distress, Walpole was summoned to power, in older to
extricate the nation, on the eve of bankruptcy. He proposed a plan,
which was adopted, and which saved the credit of the nation. He
ingrafted nine millions of the South Sea stock into the Bank of
England, and nine millions more into the East India Company; and
government gave up the seven millions of bonus which the company had

By this assistance, the company was able to fulfil its engagements,
although all who purchased stock when it had arisen beyond one hundred
per cent. of its original value, lost money. It is strange that the
stock, after all, remained at a premium of one hundred per cent.; of
course, the original proprietors gained one hundred per cent., and
those who paid one hundred per cent. premium lost nothing. But these
constituted a small fraction of the people who had speculated, and who
paid from one hundred to nine hundred per cent. premium. Government,
too, gained by reducing interest on irredeemable bonds from five to
four per cent., although it lost the promised bonus of seven millions.

The South Sea bubble did not destroy the rage for speculation,
although it taught many useful truths--that national prosperity is not
advanced by stockjobbing; that financiers, however great their genius,
generally overreach themselves; that great dividends are connected
with great risk; that circumstances beyond human control will defeat
the best-laid plan; that it is better to repose upon the operation of
the ordinary laws of trade; and that nothing but strict integrity and
industry will succeed in the end. From the time of Sir Robert Walpole,
money has seldom been worth, in England, over five per cent., and
larger dividends on vested property have generally been succeeded by
heavy losses, however plausible the promises and clear the statements
of stockjobbers and speculators.

[Sidenote: Enlightened Policy of Walpole.]

After the explosion of the South Sea Company, Walpole became possessed
of almost unlimited power. And one of the first objects to which he
directed attention, after settling the finances, was the removal of
petty restrictions on commerce. He abolished the export duties on one
hundred and six articles of British manufacture, and allowed
thirty-eight articles of raw material to be imported duty free. This
regulation was made to facilitate trade with the colonies, and prevent
them from manufacturing; and this regulation accomplished the end
desired. Both England and the colonies were enriched. It was doubtless
the true policy of British statesmen then, as now, to advance the
commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural interests of Great
Britain, rather than meddle with foreign wars, or seek glory on the
field of battle. The principles of Sir Robert Walpole were essentially
pacific; and under his administration, England made a great advance in
substantial prosperity. In this policy he surpassed all the statesmen
who preceded or succeeded him, and this constituted his glory and

But liberal and enlightened as was the general course of Walpole, he
still made blunders, and showed occasional illiberality. He caused a
fine of one hundred thousand pounds to be inflicted on the Catholics,
on the plea that they were a disaffected body. He persecuted Bishop
Atterbury, and permitted Bolingbroke, with his restless spirit of
intrigue, to return to his country, and to be reinstated in his
property and titles. He flattered the Duchess of Kendall, the mistress
of the king, and stooped to all the arts of corruption and bribery.
There never was a period of greater political corruption than during
the administration of this minister. Sycophancy, meanness, and
hypocrisy were resorted to by the statesmen of the age, who generally
sought their own interests rather than the welfare of the nation.
There were, however, exceptions. Townsend, the great rival and
coadjutor of Walpole, retired from office with an unsullied fame for
integrity and disinterestedness; and Walpole, while he bribed others,
did not enrich himself.

King George I. died on the 11th of June, 1727, suddenly, by apoplexy,
and was succeeded by his son George II., a man who resembled his
father in disposition and character, and was superior to him in
knowledge of the English constitution, though both were inclined to
steer the British bark by the Hanoverian rudder. Like his father, he
was reserved, phlegmatic, cautious, sincere, fond of business,
economical, and attached to Whig principles. He was fortunate in his
wife, Queen Caroline, one of the most excellent women of the age,
learned, religious, charitable, and sensible; the patroness of divines
and scholars; fond of discussion on metaphysical subjects, and a
correspondent of the distinguished Leibnitz.

The new king disliked Walpole, but could not do without him, and
therefore continued him in office. Indeed, the king had the sense to
perceive that England was to be governed only by the man in whom the
nation had confidence.

[Sidenote: East India Company.]

In 1730, Walpole rechartered the East India Company, the most gigantic
monopoly in the history of nations. As early as 1599, an association
had been formed in England for trade to the East Indies. This
association was made in consequence of the Dutch and Portuguese
settlements and enterprises, which aroused the commercial jealousy of
England. The capital was sixty-eight thousand pounds. In 1600, Queen
Elizabeth gave the company a royal charter. By this charter, the
company obtained the right of purchasing land, without limit, in
India, and the monopoly of the trade for fifteen years. But the
company contended with many obstacles. The first voyage was made by
four ships and one pinnace, having on board twenty-eight thousand
pounds in bullion, and seven thousand pounds in merchandise, such as
tin, cutlery, and glass.

During the civil wars, the company's affairs were embarrassed, owing
to the unsettled state of England. On the accession of Charles II.,
the company obtained a new charter, which not only confirmed the old
privileges, but gave it the power of making peace and war with the
native princes of India. The capital stock was increased to one
million five hundred thousand pounds.

Much opposition was made by Bolingbroke and the Tories to the
recharter of this institution; but the ministry carried their point,
and a new charter was granted on the condition of the company paying
to government two hundred thousand pounds, and reducing the interest
of the government debts one per cent. per annum. By this time, the
company, although it had not greatly enlarged its jurisdiction in
India, had accumulated great wealth. Its powers and possessions will
be more fully treated when the victories of Clive shall be presented.

About this time, the Duke of Newcastle came into the cabinet whose
future administration will form the subject of a separate chapter.

[Sidenote: Resignation of Townsend.]

In 1730 also occurred the disagreement between Walpole and Lord
Townsend, which ended in the resignation of the latter, a man whose
impetuous and frank temper ill fitted him to work with so cautious and
non-committal a statesman as his powerful rival. He passed the evening
of his days in rural pursuits and agricultural experiments, keeping
open house, devoting himself to his family and friends, never
hankering after the power he had lost, never even revisiting London,
and finding his richest solace in literature and simple agricultural
pleasures--the pattern of a lofty and cultivated nobleman.

The resignation of Townsend enabled Walpole to take more part in
foreign negotiations; and he exerted his talents, like Fleury in
France, to preserve the peace of Europe. The peace policy of Walpole
entitles him to the gratitude of his country. More than any other man
of his age, he apprehended the true glory and interests of nations.
Had Walpole paid as much attention to the intellectual improvement of
his countrymen, as he did to the refinements of material life and to
physical progress, he would have merited still higher praises. But he
despised learning, and neglected literary men. And they turned against
him and his administration, and, by their sarcasm and invective, did
much to undermine his power. Pope, Swift, and Gay might have lent him
powerful aid by their satirical pen; but he passed them by with
contemptuous indifference, and they gave to Bolingbroke what they
withheld from Walpole.

Next to the pacific policy of the minister, the most noticeable
peculiarity of his administration was his zeal to improve the
finances. He opposed speculations, and sought a permanent revenue from
fixed principles. He regarded the national debt as a great burden, and
strove to abolish it; and, when that was found to be impracticable,
sought to prevent its further accumulation. He was not, indeed, always
true to his policy; but he pursued it on the whole, consistently. He
favored the agricultural interests, and was inclined to raise the
necessary revenue by a tax on articles used, rather than by direct
taxation on property or income, or articles imported. Hence he is the
father of the excise scheme--a scheme still adopted in England, but
which would be intolerable in this country. In this scheme, his grand
object was to ease the landed proprietor, and to prevent smuggling, by
making smuggling no object. But the opposition to the Excise Bill was
so great that Sir Robert abandoned it; and this relinquishment of his
favorite scheme is one of the most striking peculiarities of his
administration. He never pushed matters to extremity. He ever yielded
to popular clamor. He perceived that an armed force would be necessary
in order to collect the excise, and preferred to yield his cherished
measures to run the danger of incurring greater evils than financial
embarrassments. His spirit of conciliation, often exercised in the
plenitude of power, prolonged his reign. This policy was the result of
immense experience and practical knowledge of human nature, of which
he was a great master.

[Sidenote: Unpopularity of Walpole.]

But Sir Robert was not allowed to pursue to the end his pacific, any
more than his financial policy. The clamors of interested merchants,
the violence of party spirit, and the dreams of heroic grandeur on the
part of politicians, overcame the repugnance of the minister, and
plunged England in a disastrous Spanish war; and a war soon succeeded
by that of the Austrian Succession, in which Maria Theresa was the
injured, and Frederic the Great the offending party. But this war,
which was carried on chiefly during the subsequent administration,
will be hereafter alluded to.

Although Walpole was opposed by some of the ablest men in England--by
Pulteney, Sir William Windham, and the Lords Chesterfield, Carteret,
and Bolingbroke, his power was almost absolute from 1730 to 1740. His
most powerful assistance was derived from Mr. Yorke, afterwards the
Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, one of the greatest lawyers that England
has produced.

[Sidenote: Decline of his Power.]

In 1740, his power began to decline, and rapidly waned. He lost a
powerful friend and protector by the death of Queen Caroline, whose
intercessions with the king were ever listened to with respectful
consideration. But he had almost insurmountable obstacles to contend
with--the distrust of the king, the bitter hatred of the Prince of
Wales, the violent opposition of the leading statesmen in parliament,
and universal envy. Moreover, he had grown careless and secure. He
fancied that no one could rule England but himself. But hatred,
opposition, envy, and unsuccessful military operations, forced him
from his place. No shipwrecked pilot ever clung to the rudder of a
sinking ship with more desperate tenacity than did this once powerful
minister to the helm of state. And he did not relinquish it until he
was driven from it by the desertion of all his friends, and the
general clamor of the people. The king, however, appreciated the value
of his services, and created him Earl of Orford, a dignity which had
been offered him before, but which, with self-controlling policy, he
had unhesitatingly declined. Like Sir Robert Peel in later times, he
did not wish to be buried in the House of Lords.

His retirement (1742) amid the beeches and oaks of his country seat
was irksome and insipid. He had no taste for history, or science, or
elegant literature, or quiet pleasures. His tumultuous public life had
engendered other tastes. "I wish," said he to a friend, "I took as
much delight in reading as you do. It would alleviate my tedious
hours." But the fallen minister, though uneasy and restless, was not
bitter or severe. He retained his good humor to the last, and to the
last discharged all the rites of an elegant hospitality. Said his
enemy, Pope,--

 "Seen him I have, but in his happier hour
  Of social pleasure--ill exchanged for power;
  Seen him, uncumbered by the venal tribe,
  Smile without art, and win without a bribe."

He had the habit of "laughing the heart's laugh," which it is only in
the power of noble natures to exercise. His manners were winning, his
conversation frank, and his ordinary intercourse divested of vanity
and pomp. He had many warm personal friends, and did not enrich
himself, as Marlborough did, while he enriched those who served him.
He kept a public table at Houghton, to which all gentlemen in the
country had free access. He was fond of hunting and country sports,
and had more taste for pictures than for books. He was not what would
be called a man of genius or erudition, but had a sound judgment,
great sagacity, wonderful self-command, and undoubted patriotism. As a
wise and successful ruler, he will long be held in respect, though he
will never secure veneration.

It was during the latter years of the administration of Walpole that
England was electrified by the preaching of Whitefield and Wesley, and
the sect of the Methodists arose, which has exercised a powerful
influence on the morals, religion, and social life of England.

[Sidenote: John Wesley.]

John Wesley, who may rank with Augustine, Pelagius, Calvin, Arminius,
or Jansen, as the founder of a sect, was demanded by the age in which
he lived. Never, since the Reformation, was the state of religion so
cold in England. The Established Church had triumphed over all her
enemies. Puritanism had ceased to become offensive, and had even
become respectable. The age of fox-hunting parsons had commenced, and
the clergy were the dependants of great families, easy in their
manners, and fond of the pleasures of the table. They were not
expected to be very great scholars, or very grave companions. If they
read the service with propriety, did not scandalize their cause by
gross indulgences, and did not meddle with the two exciting subjects
of all ages,--politics and religion,--they were sure of peace and
plenty. But their churches were comparatively deserted, and infidel
opinions had been long undermining respect for the institutions and
ministers of religion. Swearing and drunkenness were fashionable vices
among the higher classes, while low pleasures and lamentable ignorance
characterized the people. The dissenting sects were more religious,
but were formal and cold. Their ministers preached, too often, a mere
technical divinity, or a lax system of ethics. The Independents were
inclined to a frigid Arminianism, and the Presbyterians were passing
through the change from ultra Calvinism to Arianism and Socinianism.

The reformation was not destined to come from Dissenters, but from the
bosom of the Established Church, a reformation which bore the same
relation to Protestantism as that effected by St. Francis bore to
Roman Catholicism in the thirteenth century; a reformation among the
poorer classes, who did not wish to be separated from the Church

[Sidenote: Early Life of Wesley.]

John Wesley belonged to a good family, his father being a respectable
clergyman in a market town. He was born in 1703, was educated at
Oxford, and for the church. At the age of twenty, he received orders
from the Bishop of Oxford, and was, shortly after, chosen fellow of
Lincoln College, and then Greek lecturer.

While at Oxford, he and his brother Charles, who was also a fellow and
a fine scholar, excited the ridicule of the University for the
strictness of their lives, and their methodical way of living, which
caused their companions to give them the name of _Methodists_. Two
other young men joined them--James Hervey, author of the Meditations,
and George Whitefield. The fraternity at length numbered fifteen young
men, the members of which met frequently for religious purposes,
visited prisons and the sick, fasted zealously on Wednesdays and
Fridays, and bound themselves by rules, which, in many respects,
resembled those which Ignatius Loyola imposed on his followers. The
Imitation of Christ, by A Kempis, and Taylor's Holy Living, were their
grand text-books, both of which were studied for their devotional
spirit. But the Holy Living was the favorite book of Wesley, who did
not fully approve of the rigid asceticism of the venerable mystic of
the Middle Ages. The writings of William Law, also, had great
influence on the mind of Wesley; but his religious views were not
matured until after his return from Georgia, where he had labored as a
missionary, under the auspices of Oglethorpe. The Moravians, whom he
met with both in America and Germany, completed the work which Taylor
had begun; and from their beautiful establishments he also learned
many principles of that wonderful system of government which he so
successfully introduced among his followers.

Wesley continued his labors with earnestness; but these were also
attended with some extravagances, which Dr. Potter, the worthy Bishop
of London, and other Churchmen, could not understand. And though he
preached with great popular acceptance, and gained wonderful eclat,
though he was much noticed in society and even dined with the king at
Hampton Court, and with the Prince of Wales at St. James's, still the
churches were gradually shut against him. When Whitefield returned
from Georgia, having succeeded Wesley as a missionary in that colony,
and finding so much opposition from the dignitaries of the Church,
although neither he nor Wesley had seceded from the Church; and, above
all, excited by the popular favor he received,--for the churches would
not hold half who flocked to hear him preach,--he resolved to address
the people in the open air. The excitement he produced was
unparalleled. Near Bristol, he sometimes assembled as many as twenty
thousand. But they were chiefly the colliers, drawn forth from their
subterranean working places. But his eloquence had equal fascination
for the people of London and the vicinity. In Moorfields, on
Kennington Common, and on Blackheath, he sometimes drew a crowd of
forty thousand people, all of whom could hear his voice. He could draw
tears from Hume, and money from Dr. Franklin. He could convulse a
congregation with terror, and then inspire them with the brightest
hopes. He was a greater artist than Bossuet or Bourdaloue. He never
lost his self-possession, or hesitated for appropriate language. But
his great power was in his thorough earnestness, and almost inspired
enthusiasm. No one doubted his sincerity, and all were impressed with
the spirituality and reality of the great truths which he presented.
And wonderful results followed from his preaching, and from that of
his brethren. A great religious revival spread over England,
especially among the middle and lower classes, the effects of which
last to this day.

[Sidenote: Whitefield.]

Whitefield was not so learned, or intellectual as Wesley. He was not
so great a genius. But he had more eloquence, and more warmth of
disposition. Wesley was a system maker, a metaphysician, a logician.
He was also profoundly versed in the knowledge of human nature, and
curiously adapted his system to the wants and circumstances of that
class of people over whom he had the greatest power. Both Wesley and
Whitefield were demanded by their times, and only such men as they
were could have succeeded. They were reproached for their
extravagances, and for a zeal which was confounded with fanaticism;
but, had they been more proper, more prudent, more yielding to the
prejudices of the great, they would not have effected so much good for
their country. So with Luther. Had he possessed a severer taste, had
he been more of a gentleman, or more of a philosopher, or even more
humble, he would not so signally have succeeded. Germany, and the
circumstances of the age, required a rough, practical, bold, impetuous
reformer to lead a movement against dignitaries and venerable
corruptions. England, in the eighteenth century, needed a man to
arouse the common people to a sense of their spiritual condition; a
man who would not be trammelled by his church; who would not be
governed by the principles of expediency; who would trust in God, and
labor under peculiar discouragement and self-denial.

[Sidenote: Institution of Wesley.]

Wesley was like Luther in another respect. He quarrelled with those
who would not conform to all his views, whether they had been friends
or foes. He had been attracted by the Moravians. Their simplicity,
fervor, and sedateness had won his regard. But when the Moravians
maintained that there was delusion in those ravings which Wesley
considered as the work of grace, when they asserted that sin would
remain with even regenerated man until death, and that it was in vain
to expect the purification of the soul by works of self-denial, Wesley
opposed them, and slandered them. He also entered the lists against
his friend and fellow-laborer, Whitefield. The latter did not agree
with him respecting perfection, nor election, nor predestination; and,
when this disagreement had become fixed, an alienation took place,
succeeded by actual bitterness and hostility. Wesley, however, in his
latter days, manifested greater charity and liberality, and was a
model of patience and gentleness. He became finally reconciled to
Whitefield, and the union continued until the death of the latter, at
Newburyport, in 1770.

The greatness of Wesley consisted in devising that wonderful church
polity which still governs the powerful and numerous sect which he
founded. It is from the system of the Methodists, rather than from
their theological opinions, that their society spread so rapidly over
Great Britain and America, and which numbered at his death,
seventy-one thousand persons in England, and forty-eight thousand in
this country.

And yet his institution was not wholly a matter of calculation, but
was gradually developed as circumstances arose. When contributions
were made towards building a meeting-house in Bristol, it was observed
that most of the brethren were poor, and could afford but little. Then
said one of the number, "Put eleven of the poorest with me, and if
they give any thing, it is well. I will call on each of them weekly,
and if they give nothing, I will give for them as well as for myself."
This suggested the idea of a system of supervision. In the course of
the weekly calls, the persons who had undertaken for a class
discovered some irregularities among those for whose contributions
they were responsible, and reported them to Wesley. He saw, at once,
the advantage to be derived from such an arrangement. It was what he
had long desired. He called together the leaders, and desired that
each should make a particular inquiry into the behavior of all under
their respective supervision. They did so. The custom was embraced by
the whole body, and became fundamental. But it was soon found to be
inconvenient to visit each person separately in his own house weekly,
and then it was determined that all the members of the class should
assemble together weekly, when quarrels could be made up, and where
they might be mutually profited by each other's prayers and
exhortations. Thus the system of classes and class-leaders arose,
which bears the same relation to the society at large that town
meetings do to the state or general government in the American
democracy--which, as it is known, constitute the genius of our
political institutions.

[Sidenote: Itinerancy.]

Itinerancy also forms another great feature of Methodism; and this
resulted from accident. But it is the prerogative and peculiarity of
genius to take advantage of accidents and circumstances. It cannot
create them. Wesley had no church; but, being an ordained clergyman of
the Establishment, and a fellow of a college beside, he had the right
to preach in any pulpit, and in any diocese. But the pulpits were
closed against him, in consequence of his peculiarities; so he
preached wherever he could collect a congregation. Itinerancy and
popularity gave him notoriety, and flattered ambition, of which he was
not wholly divested. He and his brethren wandered into every section
of England, from the Northumbrian moorlands to the innermost depths of
the Cornish mines, in the most tumultuous cities and in the most
unfrequented hamlets.

[Sidenote: Great Influence and Power of Wesley.]

As he was the father of the sect, all appointments were made by him,
and, as he deserved respect and influence, the same became unbounded.
When power was vested to an unlimited extent in his hands, and when
the society had become numerous and scattered over a great extent of
territory, he divided England into circuits, and each circuit had a
certain number of ministers appointed to it. But he held out no
worldly rewards as lures. The conditions which he imposed were hard.
The clergy were to labor with patience and assiduity on a mean
pittance, with no hope of wealth or ease. Rewards were to be given
them by no earthly judge. The only recompense for toil and hunger was
that of the original apostles--the approval of their consciences and
the favor of Heaven.

To prevent the overbearing intolerance and despotism of the people,
the chapels were not owned by the congregation nor even vested in
trustees, but placed at the absolute disposal of Mr. Wesley and the

If the rule of Wesley was not in accordance with democratic
principles, still its perpetuation in the most zealous of democratic
communities, and its escape, thus far, from the ordinary fate of all
human institutions,--that of corruption and decay,--shows its
remarkable wisdom, and also the great virtue of those who have
administered the affairs of the society. It effected, especially in
England,--what the Established Church and the various form of
Dissenters could not do,--the religious renovation of the lower
classes; it met their wants; it stimulated their enthusiasm. And while
Methodism promoted union and piety among the people, especially those
who were ignorant and poor, it did not undermine their loyalty or
attachment to the political institutions of the country. Other
Dissenters were often hostile to the government, and have been
impatient under the evils which have afflicted England; but the
Methodists, taught subordination to superiors and rulers, and have
ever been patient, peaceful, and quiet.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Lord Mahon's History should be particularly
     read; also Coxe's Memoirs of Walpole. Consult Smollett's and
     Tindall's History of England, and Belsham's History of
     George II. Smyth's Lectures are very valuable on this period
     of English history. See, also, Bolingbroke's State of
     Parties; Burke's Appeal from the Old to the New Whigs; Lord
     Chesterfield's Characters; and Cobbett's Parliamentary
     Debates. Reminiscences by Horace Walpole. For additional
     information respecting the South Sea scheme, see Anderson's
     and Macpherson's Histories of Commerce, and Smyth's
     Lectures. The lives of the Pretenders have been well written
     by Ray and Jesse. Tytler's History of Scotland should be
     consulted; and Waverley may be read with profit. The rise of
     the Methodists, the great event of the reign of George I.,
     has been generally neglected. Lord Mahon has, however,
     written a valuable chapter. See also Wesley's Letters and
     Diary, and Lives, by Southey and Moore.



[Sidenote: Commercial Enterprise.]

During the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, the English colonies
in America, and the East India Company's settlements began to attract
the attention of ministers, and became of considerable political
importance. It is, therefore, time to consider the history of
colonization, both in the East and West, and not only by the English,
but by the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the French.

The first settlements in the new world by Europeans, and their
conquests in the unknown regions of the old, were made chiefly in view
of commercial advantages. The love of money, that root of all evil,
was overruled by Providence in the discovery of new worlds, and the
diffusion of European civilization in countries inhabited by savages,
or worn-out Oriental races. But the mere ignoble love of gain was not
the only motive which incited the Europeans to navigate unknown oceans
and colonize new continents. There was also another, and this was the
spirit of enterprise, which magically aroused the European mind in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Marco Polo, when he visited the
East; the Portuguese, when they doubled the Cape of Good Hope;
Columbus, when he discovered America; and Magellan, when he entered
the South Sea, were moved by curiosity and love of science, more than
by love of gold. But the vast wealth, which the newly-discovered
countries revealed, stimulated, in the breasts of the excited
Europeans, the powerful passions of ambition and avarice; and the
needy and grasping governments of Spain, Portugal, Holland, France,
and England patronized adventurers to the new El Dorado, and furnished
them with ships and stores, in the hope of receiving a share of the
profits of their expedition. And they were not disappointed. Although
many disasters happened to the early navigators, still country after
country was added to the possessions of European kings, and vast sums
of gold and silver were melted into European coin. No conquests were
ever more sudden, and brilliant than those of Cortez and Pizarro, nor
did wealth ever before so suddenly enrich the civilized world. But
sudden and unlawful gains produced their natural fruit. All the worst
evils which flow from extravagance, extortion, and pride prevailed in
the old world and the new; and those advantages and possessions, which
had been gained by enterprise, were turned into a curse, for no wealth
can balance the vices of avarice, injustice, and cruelty.

[Sidenote: Spanish Conquests and Settlements.]

The most important of all the early settlements of America were made
by the Spaniards. Their conquests were the most brilliant, and proved
the most worthless. The spirit which led to their conquests and
colonization was essentially that of avarice and ambition. It must,
however, be admitted that religious zeal, in some instances, was the
animating principle of the adventurers and of those that patronized

The first colony was established in Hispaniola, or, as it was
afterwards called, St. Domingo, a short time after the discovery of
America by Columbus. The mines of the island were, at that period,
very productive, and the aggressive Spaniards soon compelled the
unhappy natives to labor in them, under their governor, Juan Ponce de
Leon. But Hispaniola was not sufficiently large or productive to
satisfy the cupidity of the governor, and Porto Rico was conquered and
enslaved. Cuba also, in a few years, was added to the dominions of

At length, the Spaniards, who had explored the coasts of the Main
land, prepared to invade and conquer the populous territories of
Montezuma, Emperor of Mexico. The people whom he governed had attained
a considerable degree of civilization, having a regular government, a
system of laws, and an established priesthood. They were not ignorant
of the means of recording great events, and possessed considerable
skill in many useful and ornamental arts. They were rich in gold and
silver, and their cities were ornamented with palaces and gardens. But
their riches were irresistible objects of desire to the European
adventurers, and, therefore, proved their misfortune. The story of
their conquest by Fernando Cortez need not here be told; familiarized
as are all readers and students with the exquisite and artistic
narrative of the great American historian, whose work and whose fame
can only perish with the language itself.

About ten years after the conquest of Mexico, Pizarro landed in Peru,
which country was soon added to the dominions of Philip II. And the
government of that country was even more oppressive and unjust than
that of Mexico. All Indians between the ages of fifteen and fifty were
compelled to work in the mines; and so dreadful was the forced labor,
that four out of five of those who worked in them were supposed to
perish annually. There was no limit to Spanish rapacity and cruelty,
and it was exercised over all the other countries which were
subdued--Chili, Florida, and the West India Islands.

Enormous and unparalleled quantities of the precious metals were sent
to Spain from the countries of the new world. But, from the first
discovery of Peru and Mexico, the mother country declined in wealth
and political importance. With the increase of gold, the price of
labor and of provision, and of all articles of manufacturing industry,
also increased, and nearly in the same ratio. The Spaniards were
insensible to this truth, and, instead of cultivating the soil or
engaging in manufactures, were contented with the gold which came from
the colonies. This, for a while, enriched them; but it was soon
scattered over all Christendom, and was exchanged for the necessities
of life. Industry and art declined, and those countries alone were the
gainers which produced those articles which Spain was obliged to

[Sidenote: Portuguese Discoveries.]

Portugal soon rivalled Spain in the extent and richness of colonial
possessions. Brazil was discovered in 1501, and, in about half a
century after, was colonized. The native Brazilians, inferior in
civilization to the Mexicans and Peruvians, were still less able than
they to resist the arms of the Europeans. They were gradually subdued,
and their beautiful and fertile country came into possession of the
victors. But the Portuguese also extended their empire in the East, as
well as in the West. After the discovery of a passage round the Cape
of Good Hope by Vasco de Gama, the early navigators sought simply to
be enriched by commerce with the Indies. They found powerful rivals in
the Arabs, who had heretofore monopolized the trade. In order to
secure their commerce, and also to protect themselves against their
rivals and enemies, the Portuguese, under the guidance of Albuquerque,
procured a grant of land in India, from one of the native princes.
Soon after, Goa was reduced, and became the seat of government; and
territorial acquisition commenced, which, having been continued nearly
three centuries by the various European powers, is still progressive.
In about sixty years, the Portuguese had established a great empire in
the East, which included the coasts and islands of the Persian Gulf,
the whole Malabar and Coromandel coasts, the city of Malacca, and
numerous islands of the Indian Ocean. They had effected a settlement
in China, obtained a free trade with the empire of Japan, and received
tribute from the rich Islands of Ceylon, Java, and Sumatra.

[Sidenote: Portuguese Settlements.]

The same moral effects happened to Portugal, from the possession of
the Indies, that the conquests of Cortez and Pizarro produced on
Spain. Goa was the most depraved spot in the world: and the vices
which wealth engendered, wherever the Europeans formed a settlement,
can now scarcely be believed. When Portugal fell under the dominion of
Philip II., the ruin of her settlements commenced. They were
supplanted by the Dutch, who were more moral, more united and
enterprising, though they provoked, by their arrogance and injustice,
the hostility of the Eastern princes.

The conquests and settlements of the Dutch rapidly succeeded those of
the Portuguese. In 1595, Cornelius Houtman sailed, with a
well-provided fleet, for the land of gems and spices. A company was
soon incorporated, in Holland, for managing the Indian trade.
Settlements were first made in the Moluccas Islands, which soon
extended to the possession of the Island of Java, and to the complete
monopoly of the spice trade. The Dutch then gained possession of the
Island of Ceylon, which they retained until it was wrested from them
by the English. But their empire was only maintained at a vast expense
of blood and treasure; nor were they any exception to the other
European colonists and adventurers, in the indulgence of all those
vices which degrade our nature.

Neither the French nor the English made any important conquests in the
East, when compared with those of the Portuguese and Dutch. Nor did
their acquisitions in America equal those of the Spaniards. But they
were more important in their ultimate results.

[Sidenote: Early English Enterprise.]

English enterprise was manifested shortly after the first voyage of
Columbus. Henry VII. was sufficiently enlightened, envious, and
avaricious, to listen to the proposals of a Venetian, resident in
Bristol, by the name of Cabot; and, in 1495, he commissioned him to
sail under the banner of England, to take possession of any new
countries he might discover. Accordingly, in about two years after,
Cabot, with his second son, Sebastian, embarked at Bristol, in one of
the king's ships, attended by four smaller vessels, equipped by the
merchants of that enterprising city.

Impressed with the idea of Columbus, and other early navigators, that
the West India Islands were not far from the Indian continent, he
concluded that, if he steered in a more northerly direction, he should
reach India by a shorter course than that pursued by the great
discoverer. Accordingly, sailing in that course, he discovered
Newfoundland and Prince Edwards', and, soon after, the coast of North
America, along which he sailed, from Labrador to Virginia. But,
disappointed in not finding a westerly passage to India, he returned
to England, without attempting, either by settlement or conquest, to
gain a footing on the great continent which the English were the
second to visit, of all the European nations.

England was prevented, by various circumstances, from deriving
immediate advantage from the discovery. The unsettled state of the
country; the distractions arising from the civil wars, and afterwards
from the Reformation; the poverty of the people, and the sordid nature
of the king,--were unfavorable to settlements which promised no
immediate advantage; and it was not until the reign of Elizabeth that
any deliberate plans were made for the colonization of North America.
The voyages of Frobisher and Drake had aroused a spirit of adventure,
if they had not gratified the thirst for gold.

Among those who felt an intense interest in the new world, was Sir
Humphrey Gilbert, a man of enlarged views and intrepid boldness. He
secured from Elizabeth (1578) a liberal patent, and sailed, with a
considerable body of adventurers, for the new world. But he took a too
northerly direction, and his largest vessel was shipwrecked on the
coast of Cape Breton. The enterprise from various causes, completely
failed, and the intrepid navigator lost his life.

[Sidenote: Sir Walter Raleigh.]

The spirit of the times raised up, however, a greater genius, and a
more accomplished adventurer, and no less a personage than Sir Walter
Raleigh,--the favorite of the queen; one of the greatest scholars and
the most elegant courtier of the age; a soldier, a philosopher, and a
statesman. He obtained a patent, substantially the same as that which
had been bestowed on Gilbert. In 1584, Raleigh despatched two small
exploring vessels, under the command of Amidas and Barlow, which
seasonably arrived off the coast of North Carolina. From the favorable
report of the country and the people, a larger fleet, of seven ships,
was despatched to America, commanded by Sir Richard Grenville. But he
was diverted from his course by the prevailing passion for predatory
enterprise, and hence only landed one hundred and eight men at
Roanoke, (1585.) The government of this feeble band was intrusted to
Captain Lane. But the passion for gold led to a misunderstanding with
the natives. The colony became enfeebled and reduced, and the
adventurers returned to England, (1586,) bringing with them some
knowledge of the country, and also that singular weed, which rapidly
enslaved the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth, and which soon became one
of the great staple commodities in the trade of the civilized world.
Modern science has proved it to be a poison, and modern philanthropy
has lifted up its warning voice against the use of it. But when have
men, in their degeneracy, been governed by their reason? What logic
can break the power of habit, or counteract the seductive influences
of those excitements which fill the mind with visionary hopes, and
lull a tumultuous spirit into the repose of pleasant dreams and
oblivious joys? Sir Walter Raleigh, to his shame or his misfortune,
was among the first to patronize a custom which has proved more
injurious to civilized nations than even the use of opium itself,
because it is more universal and more insidious.

But smoking was simply an amusement with him. He soon turned his
thoughts to the reëstablishment of his colony. Even before the return
of the company under Lane, Sir Richard Grenville had visited the
Roanoke, with the necessary stores. But he arrived too late; the
colony was abandoned.

But nothing could abate the zeal of the most enterprising genius of
the age. In 1587, he despatched three more ships, under the command of
Captain White, who founded the city of Raleigh. But no better success
attended the new band of colonists. White sailed for England, to
secure new supplies; and, when he returned, he found no traces of the
colony he had planted; and no subsequent ingenuity or labor has been
able to discover the slightest vestige.

The patience of Raleigh was not wasted; but new objects occupied his
mind, and he parted with his patent, which made him the proprietary of
a great part of the Southern States. Nor were there any new attempts
at colonization until 1606, in the reign of James.

[Sidenote: London Company Incorporated.]

Through the influence of Sir Ferdinand Gorges, a man of great wealth;
Sir John Popham, lord chief justice of England; Richard Hakluyt, the
historian; Bartholomew Gosnold, the navigator, and John Smith, the
enthusiastic adventurer,--King James I. granted a royal charter to two
rival companies, for the colonization of America. The first was
composed of noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants, in and about London,
who had an exclusive right to occupy regions from thirty-four to
thirty-eight degrees of north latitude. The other company, composed of
gentlemen and merchants in the west of England, had assigned to them
the territory between forty-one and forty-five degrees. But only the
first company succeeded.

The territory, appropriated to the London or southern colony,
preserved the name which had been bestowed upon it during the reign of
Elizabeth,--Virginia. The colonists were authorized to transport, free
of the custom-house, for the term of seven years, what arms and
provisions they required; and their children were permitted to enjoy
the same privileges and liberties, in the American settlements, that
Englishmen had at home. They had the right to search for mines, to
coin money, and, for twenty-one years, to impose duties, on vessels
trading to their harbors, for the benefit of the colony. But, after
this period, the duty was to be taken for the king, who also preserved
a control over both the councils established for the government of the
colony,--the one in England itself, and the other in Virginia; a
control inconsistent with those liberties which the colonists
subsequently asserted and secured.

[Sidenote: Hardships of the Virginia Colony.]

The London Company promptly applied themselves to the settlement of
their territories; and, on the 19th of December, 1606, a squadron of
three small vessels set sail for the new world; and, on May 13, 1607,
a company of one hundred and five men, without families, disembarked
at Jamestown. This was the first permanent settlement in America by
the English. But great misfortunes afflicted them. Before September,
one half of the colonists had perished, and the other half were
suffering from famine, dissension, and fear. The president, Wingfield,
attempted to embezzle the public stores, and escape to the West
Indies. He was supplanted in his command by Ratcliffe, a man without
capacity. But a deliverer was raised up in the person of Captain John
Smith, who extricated the suffering and discontented band from the
evils which impended. He had been a traveller and a warrior; had
visited France, Italy, and Egypt; fought in Holland and Hungary; was
taken a prisoner of war in Wallachia, and sent as a slave to
Constantinople. Removed to a fortress in the Crimea, and subjected to
the hardest tasks, he yet contrived to escape, and, after many perils,
reached his native country. But greater hardships and dangers awaited
him in the new world, to which he was impelled by his adventurous
curiosity. He was surprised and taken by a party of hostile Indians,
when on a tour of exploration, and would have been murdered, had it
not been for his remarkable presence of mind and singular sagacity,
united with the intercession of the famous Pocahontas, daughter of a
great Indian chief, from whom some of the best families in Virginia
are descended. It would be pleasant to detail the romantic incidents
of this brief captivity; but our limits forbid. Smith, when he
returned to Jamestown, found his company reduced to forty men, and
they were discouraged and disheartened. Moreover, they were a
different class of men from those who colonized New England. They were
gentlemen adventurers connected with aristocratic families, were
greedy for gold, and had neither the fortitude nor the habits
requisite for success. They were not accustomed to labor, at least
with the axe and plough. Smith earnestly wrote to the council of the
company in England, to send carpenters, husbandmen, gardeners,
fishermen, and blacksmiths, instead of "vagabond gentlemen and
goldsmiths." But he had to organize a colony with such materials as
avarice or adventurous curiosity had sent to America. And, in spite of
dissensions and natural indolence, he succeeded in placing it on a
firm foundation; surveyed the Chesapeake Bay to the Susquehannah, and
explored the inlets of the majestic Potomac. But he was not permitted
to complete the work which he had so beneficently begun. His
administration was unacceptable to the company in England, who cared
very little for the welfare of the infant colony, and only sought a
profitable investment of their capital. They were disappointed that
mines of gold and silver had not been discovered, and that they
themselves had not become enriched. Even the substantial welfare of
the colony displeased them; for this diverted attention from the
pursuit of mineral wealth.

[Sidenote: New Charter of the London Company.]

The original patentees, therefore, sought to strengthen themselves by
new associates and a new charter. And a new charter was accordingly
granted to twenty-one peers, ninety-eight knights, and a great number
of doctors, esquires, gentlemen, and merchants. The bounds of the
colony were enlarged, the council and offices in Virginia abolished,
and the company in England empowered to nominate all officers in the
colony. Lord Delaware was appointed governor and captain-general of
the company, and a squadron of nine ships, with five hundred emigrants
were sent to Virginia. But these emigrants consisted, for the most
part, of profligate young men, whom their aristocratic friends sent
away to screen themselves from shame; broken down gentlemen, too lazy
to work; and infamous dependants on powerful families. They threw the
whole colony into confusion, and provoked, by their aggression and
folly, the animosities of the Indians, whom Smith had appeased. The
settlement at Jamestown was abandoned to famine and confusion, and
would have been deserted had it not been for the timely arrival of
Lord Delaware, with ample supplies and new recruits. His
administration was wise and efficient, and he succeeded in restoring
order, if he did not secure the wealth which was anticipated.

In 1612, the company obtained a third patent, by which all the islands
within three hundred leagues of the Virginia shore were granted to the
patentees, and by which a portion of the power heretofore vested in
the council was transferred to the whole company. The political rights
of the colonists remained the same but they acquired gradually peace
and tranquillity. Tobacco was extensively cultivated, and proved a
more fruitful source of wealth than mines of silver or gold.

The jealousy of arbitrary power, and impatience of liberty among the
new settlers, induced the Governor of Virginia, in 1619, to reinstate
them in the full possession of the rights of Englishmen; and he
accordingly convoked a Provincial Assembly, the first ever held in
America, which consisted of the governor, the council, and a number of
burgesses, elected by the eleven existing boroughs of the colony. The
deliberation and laws of this infant legislature were transmitted to
England for approval; and so wise and judicious were these, that the
company, soon after, approved and ratified the platform of what
gradually ripened into the American representative system.

[Sidenote: Rapid Colonization.]

The guarantee of political rights led to a rapid colonization. "Men
were now willing to regard Virginia as their home. They fell to
building houses and planting corn." Women were induced to leave the
parent country to become the wives of adventurous planters; and,
during the space of three years, thirty-five hundred persons, of both
sexes, found their way to Virginia. In the year 1620, a Dutch ship,
from the coast of Guinea, arrived in James River, and landed twenty
negroes for sale; and, as they were found more capable of enduring
fatigue, in a southern climate, than the Europeans, they were
continually imported, until a large proportion of the inhabitants of
Virginia was composed of slaves. Thus was introduced, at this early
period, that lasting system of injustice and cruelty which has proved
already an immeasurable misfortune to the country, as well as a
disgrace to the institutions of republican liberty, but which is
lamented, in many instances, by no class with more sincerity than by
those who live by the produce of slave labor itself.

The succeeding year, which witnessed the importation of negroes,
beheld the cultivation of tobacco, which before the introduction of
cotton, was the great staple of southern produce.

[Sidenote: Indian Warfare.]

In 1622, the long-suppressed enmity of the Indians broke out in a
savage attempt to murder the whole colony. A plot had been formed by
which all the English settlements were to be attacked on the same day,
and at the same hour. The conspiracy was betrayed by a friendly
Indian, but not in time to prevent a fearful massacre of three hundred
and forty-seven persons, among whom were some of the wealthiest and
most respectable inhabitants. Then followed all the evils of an Indian
war, and the settlements were reduced from eighty to eight
plantations; and it was not until after a protracted struggle that the
colonists regained their prosperity.

Scarcely had hostilities with the Indians commenced, before
dissensions among the company in England led to a quarrel with the
king, and a final abrogation of their charter. The company was too
large and too democratic. The members were dissatisfied that so little
gain had been derived from the colony; and moreover they made their
courts or convocations, when they assembled to discuss colonial
matters, the scene of angry political debate. There was a court party
and a country party, each inflamed with violent political animosities.
The country party was the stronger, and soon excited the jealousy of
the arbitrary monarch, who looked upon their meetings "as but a
seminary to a seditious parliament." A royal board of commissioners
were appointed to examine the affairs of the company, who reported
unfavorably; and the king therefore ordered the company to surrender
its charter. The company refused to obey an arbitrary mandate; but
upon its refusal, the king ordered a writ of _quo warranto_ to be
issued, and the Court of the King's Bench decided, of course, in favor
of the crown. The company was accordingly dissolved. But the
dissolution, though arbitrary, operated beneficially on the colony. Of
all cramping institutions, a sovereign company of merchants is the
most so, since they seek simply commercial gain, without any reference
to the political, moral, or social improvement of the people whom they
seek to control.

[Sidenote: Governor Harvey.]

Before King James had completed his scheme for the government of the
colony, he died; and Charles I. pursued the same arbitrary policy
which his father contemplated. He instituted a government which
combined the unlimited prerogative of an absolute prince with the
narrow and selfish maxims of a mercantile corporation. He monopolized
the profits of its trade, and empowered the new governor, whom he
appointed, to exercise his authority with the most undisguised
usurpation of those rights which the colonists had heretofore enjoyed.
Harvey's disposition was congenial with the rapacious and cruel system
which he pursued, and he acted more like the satrap of an Eastern
prince than the representative of a constitutional monarch. The
colonists remonstrated and complained; but their appeals to the mercy
and justice of the king were disregarded, and Harvey continued his
course of insolence and tyranny until that famous parliament was
assembled which rebelled against the folly and government of Charles.
In 1641, a new and upright governor, Sir William Berkeley, was sent to
Virginia, and the old provincial liberties were restored. In the
contest between the king and parliament Virginia espoused the royal
cause. When the parliament had triumphed over the king, Virginia was
made to feel the force of republican displeasure, and oppressive
restrictions were placed upon the trade of the colony, which were the
more provoking in view of the indulgence which the New England
colonies received from the protector. A revolt ensued, and Sir William
Berkeley was forced from his retirement, and made to assume the
government of the rebellious province. Cromwell, fortunately for
Virginia, but unfortunately for the world, died before the rebellion,
could be suppressed; and when Charles II. was restored, Virginia
joyfully returned to her allegiance. The supremacy of the Church of
England was established by law, stipends were allowed to her
ministers, and no clergymen were permitted to exercise their functions
but such as held to the supremacy of the Church of England.

[Sidenote: Arbitrary Policy of Charles II.]

But Charles II. was as incapable as his father of pursuing a generous
and just policy to the colonies; and parliament itself looked upon the
colonies as a source of profit to the nation, rather than as a part of
the nation. No sooner was Charles seated on the throne, than
parliament imposed a duty of five per cent. on all merchandise
exported from, or imported into, any of the dominions belonging to the
crown; and the famous Navigation Act was passed, which ordained that
no commodities should be imported into any of the British settlements
but in vessels built in England or in her colonies; and that no sugar,
tobacco, cotton, wool, indigo and some other articles produced in the
colonies, should be shipped from them to any other country but
England. As a compensation, the colonies were permitted the exclusive
cultivation of tobacco. The parliament, soon after, in 1663, passed
additional restrictions; and, advancing, step by step, gradually
subjected the colonies to a most oppressive dependence on the mother
country, and even went so far as to regulate the trade of the several
colonies with each other. This system of monopoly and exclusion, of
course, produced indignation and disgust, and sowed the seeds of
ultimate rebellion. Indian hostilities were added to provincial
discontent, and even the horrors of civil war disturbed the prosperity
of the colony. An ambitious and unprincipled adventurer, by the name
of Bacon, succeeded in fomenting dissension, and in successfully
resisting the power of the governor. Providence arrested the career of
the rebel in the moment of his triumph; and his sickness and death
fortunately dissipated the tempest which threatened to be fatal to the
peace and welfare of Virginia. Berkeley, on the suppression of the
rebellion, punished the offenders with a severity which ill accorded
with his lenient and pacific character. His course did not please the
government in England, and he was superseded by Colonel Jeffries. But
he died before his successor arrived. A succession of governors
administered the colony as their disposition prompted, some of whom
were wise and able, and others tyrannical and rapacious.

The English revolution of 1688 produced also a change in the
administration of the colony. Its dependence on the personal character
of the sovereign was abolished, and its chartered liberties were
protected. The king continued to appoint the royal governor, and the
parliament continued to oppress the trade of the colonists; but they,
on the whole, enjoyed the rights of freemen, and rapidly advanced in
wealth and prosperity. On the accession of William and Mary, the
colony contained fifty thousand inhabitants and forty-eight parishes;
and, in 1676, the customs on tobacco alone were collected in England
to the amount of one hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds. The
people generally belonged to the Episcopal Church, and the clergy each
received, in every parish, a house and glebe, together with sixteen
thousand pounds of tobacco. The people were characterized for
hospitality and urbanity, but were reproached for the indolence which
a residence in scattered villages, a hot climate, and negro slavery
must almost inevitably lead to. Literature, that solace of the refined
and luxurious in the European world, was but imperfectly cultivated;
nor was religion, in its stern and lofty developments, the animating
principle of life, as in the New England settlements. But the people
of Virginia were richer, more cultivated, and more aristocratic than
the Puritans, more refined in manners, and more pleasing as

[Sidenote: Settlement of New England.]

The settlements in New England were made by a very different class of
men from those who colonized Virginia. They were not adventurers in
quest of gain; they were not broken-down gentlemen of aristocratic
connections; they were not the profligate and dissolute members of
powerful families. They were Puritans, they belonged to the middle
ranks of society; they were men of stern and lofty virtue, of
invincible energy, and hard and iron wills; they detested both the
civil and religious despotism of their times, and desired, above all
worldly consideration, the liberty of worshipping God according to the
dictates of their consciences. They were chiefly Independents and
Calvinists, among whom religion was a life, and not a dogma. They
sought savage wilds, not for gain, not for ease, not for
aggrandizement, but for liberty of conscience; and, for the sake of
that inestimable privilege, they were ready to forego all the comforts
and elegances of civilized life, and cheerfully meet all the dangers
and make all the sacrifices which a residence among savage Indians,
and in a cold and inhospitable climate, necessarily incurred.

The efforts at colonization attempted by the company in the west of
England, to which allusion has been made, signally failed. God did not
design that New England should be settled by a band of commercial
adventurers. A colony was permanently planted at Plymouth, within the
limits of the corporation, of forty persons, to whom James had granted
enormous powers, and a belt of country from the fortieth to the
forty-eighth degree of north latitude in width, and from the Atlantic
to the Pacific in length.

[Sidenote: Arrival of the Mayflower.]

On the 5th of August, 1620, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, freighted
with the first Puritan colony, set sail from Southampton. It composed
a band of religious and devoted men, with their wives and children,
who had previously sought shelter in Holland for the enjoyment of
their religious opinions. The smaller vessel, after a trial on the
Atlantic, was found incompetent to the voyage, and was abandoned. The
more timid were allowed to disembark at old Plymouth. One hundred and
one resolute souls again set sail in the Mayflower, for the unknown
wilderness, with all its countless dangers and miseries. No common
worldly interest could have sustained their souls. The first
adventurers embarked for Virginia, without women or children; but the
Puritans made preparation for a permanent residence. Providence,
against their design, guided their little vessel to the desolate
shores of the most barren part of Massachusetts. On the 9th of
November, it was safely moored in the harbor of Cape Cod. On the 11th,
the colonists solemnly bound themselves into a body politic, and chose
John Carver for their governor. On the 11th of December, (O. S.,)
after protracted perils and sufferings, this little company landed on
Plymouth Rock. Before the opening spring, more than half the colony
had perished from privation, fatigue, and suffering, among whom was
the governor himself. In the autumn, their numbers were recruited; but
all the miseries of famine remained. They lived together as a
community; but, for three or four months together, they had no corn
whatever. In the spring of 1623, each family planted for itself, and
land was assigned to each person in perpetual fee. The needy and
defenceless colonists were fortunately preserved from the hostility of
the natives, since a famine had swept away the more dangerous of their
savage neighbors; nor did hostilities commence for several years. God
protected the Pilgrims, in their weakness, from the murderous
tomahawk, and from the perils of the wilderness. They suffered, but
they existed. Their numbers slowly increased, but they were all
Puritans,--were just the men to colonize the land, and lay the
foundation of a great empire. From the beginning, a strict democracy
existed, and all enjoyed ample exemption from the trammels of
arbitrary power. No king took cognizance of their existence, or
imposed upon them a despotic governor. They appointed their own
rulers, and those rulers governed in the fear of God. Township
independence existed from the first; and this is the nursery and the
genius of American institutions. The Plymouth colony was a
self-constituted democracy; but it was composed of Englishmen, who
loved their native land, and, while they sought unrestrained freedom,
did not disdain dependence on the mother country, and a proper
connection with the English government. They could not obtain a royal
charter from the king; but the Grand Council of Plymouth--a new
company, to which James had given the privileges of the old
one--granted all the privileges which the colonists desired. They were
too insignificant to attract much attention from the government, or
excite the jealousy of a great corporation.

Unobtrusive and unfettered, the colony slowly spread. But wherever it
spread, it took root. It was a tree which Providence planted for all
generations. It was established upon a rock. It was a branch of the
true church, which was destined to defy storms and changes, because
its strength was in the Lord.

[Sidenote: Settlement of New Hampshire.]

But all parts of New England were not, at first, settled by Puritan
Pilgrims, or from motives of religion merely. The council of Plymouth
issued grants of domains to various adventurers, who were animated by
the spirit of gain. John Mason received a patent for what is now the
state of New Hampshire. Portsmouth and Dover had an existence as early
as 1623. Gorges obtained a grant of the whole district between the
Piscataqua and the Kennebec. Saco, in 1636, contained one hundred and
fifty people. But the settlements in New Hampshire and Maine, having
disappointed the expectations of the patentees in regard to emolument
and profit, were not very flourishing.

In the mean time, a new company of Puritans was formed for the
settlement of the country around Boston. The company obtained a royal
charter, (1629,) which constituted them a body politic, by the name of
the _Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay_. It conferred on
the colonists the rights of English subjects, although it did not
technically concede freedom of religious worship, or the privilege of
self-government. The main body of the colonists settled in Salem. They
were a band of devout and lofty characters; Calvinists in their
religious creed, and republicans in their political opinions. Strict
independency was the basis and the genius of their church. It was
self-constituted, and all its officers were elected by the members.

[Sidenote: Constitution of the Colony.]

The charter of the company had been granted to a corporation
consisting chiefly of merchants resident in London, and was more
liberal than could have been expected from so bigoted and zealous a
king as Charles I. If it did not directly concede the rights of
conscience, it seemed to be silent respecting them; and the colonists
were left to the unrestricted enjoyment of their religious and civil
liberties. The intolerance and rigor of Archbishop Laud caused this
new colony to be rapidly settled; and, as many distinguished men
desired to emigrate, they sought and secured, from the company in
England, a transfer of all the powers of government to the actual
settlers in America. By this singular transaction, the municipal
rights and privileges of the colonists were established on a firm

In 1630, not far from fifteen hundred persons, with Winthrop as their
leader and governor, emigrated to the new world, and settled first in
Charlestown, and afterwards in Boston. In accordance with the charter
which gave them such unexpected privileges, a General Court was
assembled, to settle the government. But the privilege of the elective
franchise was given only to the members of the church, and each church
was formed after the model of the one in Salem. It cannot be said that
a strict democracy was established, since church membership was the
condition of the full enjoyment of political rights. But if the
constitution was somewhat aristocratic and exclusive, aristocracy was
not based on wealth or intellect. The Calvinists of Massachusetts
recognized a government of the elect,--a sort of theocracy, in which
only the religious, or those who professed to be so, and were admitted
to be so, had a right to rule. This was the notion of Cromwell
himself, the great idol and representative of the Independents, who
fancied that the government of England should be intrusted only to
those who were capable of saving England, and were worthy to rule
England. As his party constituted, in his eyes, this elect body, and
was, in reality, the best party,--composed of men who feared God, and
were willing to be ruled by his laws,--therefore his party, as he
supposed, had a right to overturn thrones, and establish a new
theocracy on earth.

[Sidenote: Doctrines of the Puritans.]

This notion was a delusion in England, and proved fatal to all those
who were blinded by it. Not so in America. Amid the unbroken forests
of New England, a colony of men was planted who generally recognized
the principles of Cromwell; and one of the best governments the world
has seen controlled the turbulent, rewarded the upright, and protected
the rights and property of all classes with almost paternal fidelity
and justice. The colony, however,--such is the weakness of man, such
the degeneracy of his nature,--was doomed to dissension. Bigotry, from
which no communities or individuals are fully free, drove some of the
best men from the limits of the colony. Roger Williams, a minister in
Salem, and one of the most worthy and enlightened men of his age,
sought shelter from the persecution of his brethren amid the wilds on
Narragansett Bay. In June, 1636, the lawgiver of Rhode Island, with
five companions, embarked in an Indian canoe, and, sailing down the
river, landed near a spring, on a sheltered spot, which he called
_Providence_. He was gradually joined by others, who sympathized with
his tolerant spirit and enlightened views, and the colony of Rhode
Island became an asylum for the persecuted for many years. And there
were many such. The Puritans were too earnest to live in harmony with
those who differed from them on great religious questions; and a
difference of views must have been expected among men so intellectual,
so acute, and so fearless in speculation. How could dissenters from
prevailing opinions fail to arise?--mystics, fanatics, and heretics?
The idea of special divine illumination--ever the prevailing source of
fanaticism, in all ages and countries--led astray some; and the desire
for greater spiritual liberty animated others. Anne Hutchinson adopted
substantially the doctrine of George Fox, that the spirit of God
illuminates believers, independently of his written word; and she
communicated her views to many others, who became, like her, arrogant
and conceited, in spite of their many excellent qualities. Harry Vane,
the governor, was among the number. But there was no reasoning with
fanatics, who fancied themselves especially inspired; and, as they
disturbed the peace of the colony, the leaders were expelled. Vane
himself returned to England, to mingle in scenes more congenial with
his excellent but excitable temper. In England, this illustrious
friend of Milton greatly distinguished himself for his efforts in the
cause of liberty, and ever remained its consistent advocate; opposing
equally the tyranny of the king, and the encroachments of those who
overturned his throne.

[Sidenote: Pequod War.]

Connecticut, though assigned to a company in England, was early
colonized by a detachment of Pilgrims from Massachusetts. In 1635,
settlements were made at Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield. The
following year, the excellent and illustrious Hooker led a company of
one hundred persons through the forests to the delightful banks of the
Connecticut, whose rich alluvial soil promised an easier support than
the hard and stony land in the vicinity of Boston. They were scarcely
settled before the Pequod war commenced, which involved all the
colonies in a desperate and bloody contest with the Indians. But the
Pequods were no match for Europeans, especially without firearms; and,
in 1637, the tribe was nearly annihilated. The energy and severity
exercised by the colonists, fighting for their homes, struck awe in
the minds of the savages; and it was long before they had the courage
to rally a second time. The Puritans had the spirit of Cromwell, and
never hesitated to act with intrepid boldness and courage, when the
necessity was laid upon them. They were no advocates of half measures.
Their subsequent security and growth are, in no slight degree, to be
traced to these rigorous measures,--measures which, in these times,
are sometimes denounced as too severe, but the wisdom of which can
scarcely be questioned when the results are considered. All the great
masters of war, and of war with barbarians, have pursued a policy of
unmitigated severity; and when a temporizing or timid course has been
adopted with men incapable of being governed by reason, and animated
by savage passions, that course has failed.

[Sidenote: Union of the New England Colonies.]

After the various colonies were well established in New England, and
more than twenty thousand had emigrated from the mother country, they
were no longer regarded with benevolent interest by the king or his
ministers. The Grand Council of Plymouth surrendered its charter to
the king, and a writ of _quo warranto_ was issued against the
Massachusetts colony. But the Puritans refused to surrender their
charter, and prepared for resistance against the malignant scheme of
Strafford and Laud. Before they could be carried into execution, the
struggle between the king and the Long Parliament had commenced. The
less resistance was forgotten in the greater. The colonies escaped the
vengeance of a bigoted government. When the parliament triumphed, they
were especially favored, and gradually acquired wealth and power. The
different colonies formed a confederation to protect themselves
against the Dutch and French on the one side, and the Indians on the
other. And this happily continued for half a century, and was
productive of very important results. But the several colonies
continued to make laws for their own people, to repress anarchy, and
favor the cause of religion and unity. They did not always exhibit a
liberal and enlightened policy. They destroyed witches; persecuted the
Baptists and Quakers, and excluded them from their settlements. But,
with the exception of religious persecution, their legislation was
wise, and their general conduct was virtuous. They encouraged schools,
and founded the University of Cambridge. They preserved the various
peculiarities of Puritanism in regard to amusements, to the observance
of the Sabbath, and to antipathy to any thing which reminded them of
Rome, or even of the Church of England. But Puritanism was not an
odious crust, a form, a dogma. It was a life, a reality; and was not
unfavorable to the development of the most beautiful virtues of
charity and benevolence, in a certain sphere. It was not a mere
traditional Puritanism, which clings with disgusting tenacity to a
form, when the spirit of love has departed; but it was a harmonious
development of living virtues, which sympathized with education, with
freedom, and with progress; which united men together by the bond of
Christian love, and incited them to deeds of active benevolence and
intrepid moral heroism. Nor did the Puritan Pilgrims persecute those
who did not harmonize with them in order to punish them, but simply to
protect themselves, and to preserve in their midst, and in their
original purity, those institutions and those rights, for the
possession of which they left their beloved native land for a savage
wilderness, with its countless perils and miseries. But their
hardships and afflictions were not of long continuance. With energy,
industry, frugality, and love, they soon obtained security, comfort,
and health. And it is no vain and idle imagination which assigns to
those years, which succeeded the successful planting of the colony,
the period of the greatest happiness and virtue which New England has
ever enjoyed.

Equally fortunate with the Puritans were those interesting people who
settled Pennsylvania. If the Quakers were persecuted in the mother
country and in New England, they found a shelter on the banks of the
Delaware. There they obtained and enjoyed that freedom of religious
worship which had been denied to the great founder of the sect, and
which had even been withheld from them by men who had struggled with
them for the attainment of this exalted privilege.

[Sidenote: William Penn.]

In 1677, the Quakers obtained a charter which recognized the principle
of democratic equality in the settlements in West Jersey; and in 1680,
William Penn received from the king, who was indebted to his father, a
grant of an extensive territory, which was called _Pennsylvania_, of
which he was constituted absolute proprietary. He also received a
liberal charter, and gave his people privileges and a code of laws
which exceeded in liberality any that had as yet been bestowed on any
community. In 1682 he landed at Newcastle, and, soon after, at his new
city on the banks of the Delaware, under the shelter of a large,
spreading elm, made his immortal treaty with the Indians. He
proclaimed to the Indian, heretofore deemed a foe never to be
appeased, the principles of love which animated Fox, and which "Mary
Fisher had borne to the Grand Turk." "We meet," said the lawgiver, "on
the broad pathway of good faith and good will. No advantage shall be
taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. I will not
call you children, for parents sometimes chide their children too
severely; nor brothers only, for brothers differ. The friendship
between me and you I will not compare to a chain, for that the rains
might rust, or the felling tree might break. We are the same as if one
man's body were to be divided into two parts; we are all one flesh and

Such were the sublime doctrines which the illustrious founder of
Pennsylvania declared to the Indians, and which he made the basis of
his government, and the rule of his intercourse with his own people
and with savage tribes. These doctrines were already instilled into
the minds of the settlers, and they also found a response in the souls
of the Indians. The sons of the wilderness long cherished the
recollection of the covenant, and never forgot its principles. While
all the other settlements of the Europeans were suffering from the
hostility of the red man, Pennsylvania alone enjoyed repose. "Not a
drop of Quaker blood was ever shed by an Indian."

William Penn, although the absolute proprietor of a tract of country
which was nearly equal in extent to England, sought no revenue and no
arbitrary power. He gave to the settlers the right to choose their own
magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, and only reserved to
himself the power to veto the bills of the council--the privilege
which our democracies still allow to their governors.

Such a colony as he instituted could not but prosper. Its rising
glories were proclaimed in every country of Europe, and the needy and
distressed of all countries sought this realized Utopia. In two years
after Philadelphia was settled, it contained six hundred houses. Peace
was uninterrupted, and the settlement spread more rapidly than in any
other part of North America.

New Jersey, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, were all
colonized by the English, shortly after the settlement of Virginia and
New England, either by emigration from England, or from the other
colonies. But there was nothing in their early history sufficiently
marked to warrant a more extended sketch. In general, the Southern
States were colonized by men who had not the religious elevation of
the Puritans, nor the living charity of the Quakers. But their
characters improved by encountering the evils to which they were
subjected, and they became gradually imbued with those principles
which in after times secured independence and union.

[Sidenote: Settlement of New York.]

The settlement of New York, however, merits a passing notice, since it
was colonized by emigrants from Holland, which was by far the most
flourishing commercial state of Europe in the seventeenth century. The
Hudson River had been discovered (1609) by an Englishman, whose name
it bears, but who was in the service of the Dutch East India Company.
The right of possession of the country around it was therefore claimed
by the United Provinces, and an association of Dutch merchants fitted
out a ship to trade with the Indians. In 1614, a rude fort was erected
on Manhattan Island, and, the next year, the settlement at Albany
commenced, chiefly with a view of trading with the Indians. In 1623,
New Amsterdam, now New York, was built for the purpose of
colonization, and extensive territories were appropriated by the Dutch
for the rising colony. This appropriation involved them in constant
contention with the English, as well as with the Indians; nor was
there the enjoyment of political privileges by the people, as in the
New England colonies. The settlements resembled lordships in the
Netherlands, and every one who planted a colony of fifty souls,
possessed the absolute property of the lands he colonized, and became
_Patroon_, or Lord of the Manor. Very little attention was given to
education, and the colonists were not permitted to make cotton,
woollen, or linen cloth, for fear of injury to the monopolists of the
Dutch manufactures. The province had no popular freedom, and no public
spirit. The poor were numerous, and the people were disinclined to
make proper provision for their own protection.

[Sidenote: Conquest of New Netherlands.]

But the colony of the New Netherlands was not destined to remain under
the government of the Dutch West India Company. It was conquered by
the English in 1664, and the conquerors promised security to the
customs, the religion, the institutions, and the possessions of the
Dutch; and this promise was observed. In 1673, the colony was
reconquered, but finally, in 1674, was ceded to the English, and the
brother of Charles II. resumed his possession and government of New
York, and delegated his power to Colonel Nichols, who ruled with
wisdom and humanity. But the old Dutch Governor Stuyvesant remained in
the city over which he had so honorably presided, and prolonged the
empire of Dutch manners, if not of Dutch arms. The banks of the Hudson
continued also to be peopled by the countrymen of the original
colonists, who long preserved the language, customs, and religion of
Holland. New York, nevertheless, was a royal province, and the
administration was frequently intrusted to rapacious, unprincipled,
and arbitrary governors.

Thus were the various states which border on the Atlantic Ocean
colonized, in which English laws, institutions, and language were
destined to be perpetuated. In 1688, the various colonies, of which
there were twelve, contained about two hundred thousand inhabitants;
and all of these were Protestants; all cherished the principles of
civil and religious liberty, and sought, by industry, frugality and
patience, to secure independence and prosperity. From that period to
this, no nation has grown more rapidly; no one has ever developed more
surprising energies; no one has ever enjoyed greater social,
political, and religious privileges.

But the shores of North America were not colonized merely by the
English. On the banks of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi another body
of colonists arrived, and introduced customs and institutions equally
foreign to those of the English and Spaniards. The French settlements
in Canada and Louisiana are now to be considered.

[Sidenote: Discovery of the St. Lawrence.]

Within seven years from the discovery of the continent, the fisheries
of Newfoundland were known to French adventurers. The St. Lawrence was
explored in 1506, and plans of colonization were formed in 1518. In
1534, James Cartier, a native of St. Malo, sailed up the River St.
Lawrence; but the severity of the climate in winter prevented an
immediate settlement. It was not until 1603 that any permanent
colonization was commenced. Quebec was then selected by Samuel
Champlain, the father of the French settlements in Canada, as the site
for a fort. In 1604, a charter was given, by Henry IV., to an eminent
Calvinist, De Monts, which gave him the sovereignty of Acadia, a tract
embraced between the fortieth and forty-sixth degrees of north
latitude. The Huguenot emigrants were to enjoy their religion, the
monopoly of the fur trade, and the exclusive control of the soil. They
arrived at Nova Scotia the same year, and settled in Port Royal.

In 1608, Quebec was settled by Champlain, who aimed at the glory of
founding a state; and in 1627 he succeeded in establishing the
authority of the French on the banks of the St. Lawrence. But
Champlain was also a zealous Catholic, and esteemed the salvation of a
soul more than the conquest of a kingdom. He therefore selected
Franciscan monks to effect the conversion of the Indians. But they
were soon supplanted by the Jesuits, who, patronized by the government
in France, soon made the new world the scene of their strange

[Sidenote: Jesuit Missionaries.]

At no period and in no country were Jesuit missionaries more untiring
laborers than amid the forests of North America. With the crucifix in
their hands, they wandered about with savage tribes, and by
unparalleled labors of charity and benevolence, sought to convert them
to the Christianity of Rome. As early as 1635, a college and a
hospital were founded, by munificent patrons in France, for the
benefit of all the tribes of red men from the waters of Lake Superior
to the shores of the Kennebec. In 1641 Montreal, intended as a general
rendezvous for converted Indians was occupied, and soon became the
most important station in Canada, next to the fortress of Quebec.
Before Eliot had preached to the Indians around Boston, the intrepid
missionaries of the Jesuits had explored the shores of Lake Superior,
had penetrated to the Falls of St. Mary's, and had visited the
Chippeways, the Hurons, the Iroquois, and the Mohawks. Soon after,
they approached the Dutch settlements on the Hudson, explored the
sources of the Mississippi, examined its various tributary streams,
and floated down its mighty waters to its mouth. The missionaries
claimed the territories on the Gulf of Mexico for the king of France,
and in 1684, Louisiana was colonized by Frenchmen. The indefatigable
La Salle, after having explored the Mississippi, from the Falls of St.
Anthony to the sea, was assassinated by one of his envious followers,
but not until he had earned the immortal fame of being the father of
western colonization.

Thus were the North American settlements effected. In 1688, England
possessed those colonies which border on the Atlantic Ocean, from
Maine to Georgia. The French possessed Nova Scotia, Canada, Louisiana,
and claimed the countries bordering on the Mississippi and its
branches, from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Superior, and also the
territories around the great lakes.

A mutual jealousy, as was to be expected, sprung up between France and
England respecting their colonial possessions. Both kingdoms aimed at
the sovereignty of North America. The French were entitled, perhaps,
by right of discovery, to the greater extent of territory; but their
colonies were very unequal to those of the English in respect to
numbers, and still more so in moral elevation and intellectual

But Louis XIV., then in the height of his power, meditated the
complete subjection of the English settlements. The French allied
themselves with the Indians, and savage wars were the result. The
Mohawks and other tribes, encouraged by the French, committed fearful
massacres at Deerfield and Haverhill, and the English settlers were
kept in a state of constant alarm and fear. By the treaty of Utrecht,
in 1713, the colonists obtained peace and considerable accession of
territory. In 1720, John Law proposed his celebrated financial scheme
to the prince regent of France, and the Mississippi Company was
chartered, and Louisiana colonized. Much profit was expected to be
derived from this company. It will be seen, in another chapter, how
miserably it failed. It was based on wrong foundations, and the
project of deriving wealth from the colonies came to nought; nor did
it result in a rapid colonization.

[Sidenote: Prosperity of the English Colonies.]

Meanwhile the English colonies advanced in wealth, numbers, and
political importance, and attracted the notice of the English
government. Sir Robert Walpole, in 1711, was solicited to tax the
colonies; but he nobly rejected the proposal. He encouraged trade to
the utmost latitude, and tribute was only levied by means of
consumption of British manufactures. But restrictions were
subsequently imposed on colonial enterprise, which led to collisions
between the colonies and the mother country. The Southern colonies
were more favored than the Northern, but all of them were regarded
with the view of promoting the peculiar interests of Great Britain.
Other subjects of dispute also arose; but, nevertheless, the colonies,
especially those of New England, made rapid strides. There was a
general diffusion of knowledge, the laws were well observed, and the
ministers of religion were an honor to their sacred calling. The earth
was subdued, and replenished with a hardy and religious set of men.
Sentiments of patriotism and independence were ardently cherished. The
people were trained to protect themselves; and, in their town
meetings, learned to discuss political questions, and to understand
political rights. Some ecclesiastical controversies disturbed the
peace of parishes and communities, but did not retard the general
prosperity. Some great lights also appeared. David Brainerd performed
labors of disinterestedness and enlightened piety, which have never
been surpassed, and never equalled, even in zeal and activity, except
by those of the earlier Jesuits. Jonathan Edwards stamped his genius
on the whole character of New England theology, and won the highest
honor as a metaphysician, even from European admirers. His treatise on
the Freedom of the Will has secured the praises of philosophers and
divines of all sects and parties from Hume to Chalmers, and can "never
be attentively perused without a sentiment of admiration at the
strength and stretch of the human understanding." Benjamin Franklin
also had arisen: he had not, at this early epoch, distinguished
himself for philosophical discoveries; but he had attracted attention
as the editor of a newspaper, in which he fearlessly defended freedom
of speech and the great rights of the people. But greater than
Franklin, greater than any hero which modern history has commemorated,
was that young Virginia planter, who was then watching, with great
solicitude, the interests and glory of his country, and preparing
himself for the great conflicts which have given him immortality.

The growth of the colonies, and their great importance in the eyes of
the Europeans, had now provoked the jealousy of the two leading powers
of Europe, and the colonial struggle between England and France began.

[Sidenote: French Encroachments.]

The French claimed the right of erecting a chain of fortresses along
the Ohio and the Mississippi, with a view to connect Canada with
Louisiana, and thus obtain a monopoly of the fur trade with the
Indians, and secure the possession of the finest part of the American
continent. But these designs were displeasing to the English
colonists, who had already extended their settlements far into the
interior. The English ministry was also indignant in view of these
movements, by which the colonies were completely surrounded by
military posts. England protested; but the French artfully protracted
negotiations until the fortifications were completed.

It was to protest against the erection of these fortresses that George
Washington, then twenty-three years of age, was sent by the colony of
Virginia to the banks of the Ohio. That journey through the trackless
wilderness, attended but by one person, in no slight degree marked him
out, and prepared him for his subsequently great career.

While the disputes about the forts were carried on between the
cabinets of France and England, the French prosecuted their
encroachments in America with great boldness, which doubtless hastened
the rupture between the two countries. Orders were sent to the
colonies to drive the French from their usurpations in Nova Scotia,
and from their fortified posts upon the Ohio. Then commenced that
great war, which resulted in the loss of the French possessions in
America. But this war was also allied with the contests which grew out
of the Austrian Succession, and therefore will be presented in a
separate chapter on the Pelham administration, during which the Seven
Years' War, in the latter years of the reign of George II., commenced.

[Sidenote: European Settlements in the East.]

But the colonial jealousy between England and France existed not
merely in view of the North American colonies, but also those in the
East Indies; and these must be alluded to in order to form a general
idea of European colonization, and of the causes which led to the
mercantile importance of Great Britain, as well as to the great wars
which desolated the various European nations.

From the difficulties in the American colonies, we turn to those,
therefore, which existed in the opposite quarter of the globe. Even to
those old countries had European armies penetrated; even there
European cupidity and enterprise were exercised.

As late as 1742, the territories of the English in India scarcely
extended beyond the precincts of the towns in which were located the
East India Company's servants. The first English settlement of
importance was on the Island of Java; but, in 1658, a grant of land
was obtained on the Coromandel coast, near Madras, where was erected
the strong fortress of St. George. In 1668, the Island of Bombay was
ceded by the crown of Portugal to Charles II., and appointed the
capital of the British settlements in India. In 1698, the English had
a settlement on the Hooghly, which afterwards became the metropolis of
British power.

[Sidenote: French Settlements in India.]

But the Dutch, and Portuguese, and French had also colonies in India
for purposes of trade. Louis XIV. established a company, in imitation
of the English, which sought a settlement on the Hooghly. The French
company also had built a fort on the coast of the Carnatic, about
eighty miles south of Madras, called Pondicherry, and had colonized
two fertile islands in the Indian Ocean, which they called the Isle of
France and the Isle of Bourbon. The possessions of the French were
controlled by two presidencies, one on the Isle of France, and the
other at Pondicherry.

[Sidenote: La Bourdonnais and Dupleix.]

When the war broke out between England and France, in 1744, these two
French presidencies were ruled by two men of superior genius,--La
Bourdonnais and Dupleix,--both of them men of great experience in
Indian affairs, and both devoted to the interests of the company, so
far as their own personal ambition would permit. When Commodore
Burnet, with an English squadron, was sent into the Indian seas, La
Bourdonnais succeeded in fitting out an expedition to oppose it, and
even contemplated the capture of Madras. No decisive action was fought
at sea; but the French governor succeeded in taking Madras. This
success displeased the Nabob of the Carnatic, and he sent a letter to
Dupleix, and complained of the aggression of his countrymen in
attacking a place under his protection. Dupleix, envious of the fame
of La Bourdonnais, and not pleased with the terms of capitulation, as
being too favorable to the English, claimed the right of annulling the
conquest, since Madras, when taken, would fall under his own

The contentions between these two Frenchmen prevented La Bourdonnais
from following up the advantage of his victory, and he failed in his
attempts to engage the English fleet, and, in consequence, returned to
France, and died from the effects of an unjust imprisonment in the

Dupleix, after the departure of La Bourdonnais, brought the principal
inhabitants of Madras to Pondicherry. But some of them contrived to
escape. Among them was the celebrated Clive, then a clerk in a
mercantile house. He entered as an ensign into the company's service,
and soon found occasion to distinguish himself.

But Dupleix, master of Madras, now formed the scheme of founding an
Indian empire, and of expelling the English from the Carnatic. And
India was in a state to favor his enterprises. The empire of the Great
Mogul, whose capital was Delhi, was tottering from decay. It had been,
in the sixteenth century, the most powerful empire in the world. The
magnificence of his palaces astonished even Europeans accustomed to
the splendor of Paris and Versailles. His viceroys ruled over
provinces larger and richer than either France or England. And even
the lieutenants of these viceroys frequently aspired to independence.

The Nabob of Arcot was one of these latter princes. He hated the
French, and befriended the English. On the death of the Viceroy of the
Deccan, to whom he was subject, in 1748, Dupleix conceived his
gigantic scheme of conquest. To the throne of this viceroy there were
several claimants, two of whom applied to the French for assistance.
This was what the Frenchman desired, and he allied himself with the
pretenders. With the assistance of the French, Mirzappa Juy obtained
the viceroyalty. Dupleix was splendidly rewarded, and was intrusted
with the command of seven thousand Indian cavalry, and received a
present of two hundred thousand pounds.

The only place on the Carnatic which remained in possession of the
rightful viceroy was Trichinopoly, and this was soon invested by the
French and Indian forces.

To raise this siege, and turn the tide of French conquest, became the
object of Clive, then twenty-five years of age. He represented to his
superior the importance of this post, and also of striking a decisive
blow. He suggested the plan of an attack on Arcot itself, the
residence of the nabob. His project was approved, and he was placed at
the head of a force of three hundred sepoys and two hundred
Englishmen. The city was taken by surprise, and its capture induced
the nabob to relinquish the siege of Trichinopoly in order to retake
his capital. But Clive so intrenched his followers, that they
successfully defended the place after exhibiting prodigies of valor.
The fortune of war turned to the side of the gallant Englishman, and
Dupleix, who was no general, retreated before the victors. Clive
obtained the command of Fort St. David, an important fortress near
Madras, and soon controlled the Carnatic.

About this time, the settlements on the Hooghly were plundered by
Suraj-w Dowlah, Viceroy of Bengal. Bengal was the most fertile and
populous province of the empire of the Great Mogul. It was watered by
the Ganges, the sacred river of India, and its cities were
surprisingly rich. Its capital was Moorshedabad, a city nearly as
large as London; and here the young viceroy lived in luxury and
effeminacy, and indulged in every species of cruelty and folly. He
hated the English of Calcutta, and longed to plunder them. He
accordingly seized the infant city, and shut up one hundred and forty
of the colonists in a dungeon of the fort, a room twenty feet by
fourteen, with only two small windows; and in a few hours, one hundred
and seventeen of the English died. The horrors of that night have been
splendidly painted by Macaulay in his essay on Clive, and the place of
torment, called the _Black Hole of Calcutta_, is synonymous with
suffering and misery. Clive resolved to avenge this insult to his
countrymen. An expedition was fitted out at Madras to punish the
inhuman nabob, consisting of nine hundred Europeans and fifteen
hundred sepoys. It was a small force, but proved sufficient. Calcutta
was recovered and the army of the nabob was routed. Clive intrigued
with the enemies of the despot in his own city; and, by means of
unparalleled treachery, dissimulation, art, and violence, Suraj-w
Dowlah was deposed, and Meer Jaffier, one of the conspirators, was
made nabob in his place. In return for the services of Clive, the new
viceroy splendidly rewarded him. A hundred boats conveyed the
treasures of Bengal down the river to Calcutta. Clive himself, who had
walked between heaps of gold and silver, crowned with diamonds and
rubies, condescended to receive a present of three hundred thousand
pounds. His moderation has been commended by his biographers in not
asking for a million.

The elevation of Meer Jaffier was, of course, displeasing to the
imbecile Emperor of India, and a large army was sent to dethrone him.
The nabob appealed, in his necessity, to his allies, the English, and,
with the powerful assistance of the Europeans, the forces of the
successor of the great Aurungzebe were signally routed. But the great
sums he was obliged to bestow on his allies, and the encroaching
spirit which they manifested, changed his friendship into enmity. He
plotted with the Dutch and the French to overturn the power of the
English. Clive divined his object, and Meer Jaffier was deposed in his
turn. The Viceroy of Bengal was but the tool of his English
protectors, and British power was firmly planted in the centre of
India. Calcutta became the capital of a great empire, and the East
India Company, a mere assemblage of merchants and stockjobbers, by
their system of perfidy, craft and violence, became the rulers and
disposers of provinces which Alexander had coveted in vain. The
servants of this company made their fortunes, and untold wealth was
transported to England. Clive obtained a fortune of forty thousand
pounds a year, an Irish peerage, and a seat in the House of Commons.
He became an object of popular idolatry, courted by ministers, and
extolled by Pitt. He was several times appointed governor-general of
the country he had conquered, and to him England is indebted for the
foundation of her power in India. But his fame and fortune finally
excited the jealousy of his countrymen, and he was made to bear the
sins of the company which he had enriched. The malignity with which he
was pursued, and the disease which he acquired in India, operated
unfortunately on a temper naturally irritable; his reason became
overpowered, and he died, in 1774, by his own hand.

[Sidenote: Conquest of India.]

The subsequent career of Hastings, and final conquest of India, form
part of the political history of England itself, during those
administrations which yet remain to be described. The colonization of
America and the East Indies now became involved with the politics of
rival statesmen; and its history can only be appreciated by
considering those acts and principles which marked the career of the
Newcastles and the Pitts. The administration of the Pelhams,
therefore, next claims attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--The best histories pertaining to the conquests
     of the Spaniards are undoubtedly those of Mr. Prescott.
     Irving's Columbus should also be consulted. For the early
     history of the North American colonies, the attention of
     students is directed to Grahame's and Bancroft's Histories
     of the United States. In regard to India, see Elphinstone's,
     Gleig's, Ormes's, and Mills's Histories of India; Malcolm's
     Life of Clive; and Macaulay's Essay on Clive. For the
     contemporaneous history of Great Britain, the best works are
     those of Tyndal, Smollett, Lord Mahon, and Belsham;
     Russell's Modern Europe; the Pictorial History of England;
     and the continuation of Mackintosh, in Lardner's Cabinet



The English nation acquiesced in the government of Sir Robert Walpole
for nearly thirty years--the longest administration in the annals of
the country. And he was equal to the task, ruling, on the whole,
beneficently, promoting peace, regulating the finances, and
encouraging those great branches of industry which lie at the
foundation of English wealth and power. But the intrigues of rival
politicians, and the natural desire of change, which all parties feel
after a long repose, plunged the nation into war, and forced the able
minister to retire. The opposition, headed by the Prince of Wales,
supported by such able statesmen as Bolingbroke, Carteret,
Chesterfield, Pulteney, Windham, and Pitt, and sustained by the
writings of those great literary geniuses whom Walpole disdained and
neglected, compelled George II., at last, to part with a man who had
conquered his narrow prejudices.

But the Tories did not come into power on the retirement of Walpole.
His old confederates remained at the head of affairs, and Carteret,
afterwards Lord Granville, the most brilliant man of his age, became
the leading minister. But even he, so great in debate, and so
distinguished for varied attainments, did not long retain his place.
None of the abuses which existed under the former administration were
removed; and moreover the war which the nation had clamored for, had
proved disastrous. He also had to bear the consequences of Walpole's
temporizing policy which could no longer be averted.

[Sidenote: The Pelhams.]

The new ministry was headed by Henry Pelham, as first lord of the
treasury and chancellor of the exchequer, and by the Duke of
Newcastle, as principal secretary of state. These two men formed,
also, a coalition with the leading members of both houses of
parliament, Tories as well as Whigs; and, for the first time since the
accession of the Stuarts, there was no opposition. This great
coalition was called the "Broad Bottom," and comprehended the Duke of
Bedford, the Earls of Chesterfield and Harrington, Lords Lyttleton and
Hardwicke, Sir Henry Cotton, Mr Doddington, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, and Mr.
Murray. The three latter statesmen were not then formidable.

The Pelhams were descended from one of the oldest, proudest and
richest families in England, and had an immense parliamentary
influence from their aristocratic connections, their wealth, and their
experience. They were not remarkable for genius so much as for
sagacity, tact, and intrigue. They were extremely ambitious, and fond
of place and power. They ruled England as the representatives of the
aristocracy--the last administration which was able to defy the
national will. After their fall, the people had a greater voice in the
appointment of ministers. Pitt and Fox were commoners in a different
sense from what Walpole was, and represented that class which has ever
since ruled England,--not nobles, not the democracy, but a class
between them, composed of the gentry, landed proprietors, lawyers,
merchants, manufacturers, men of leisure, and their dependants.

The administration of the Pelhams is chiefly memorable for the Scotch
rebellion of 1745, and for the great European war which grew out of
colonial and commercial ambition, and the encroachments of Frederic
the Great.

[Sidenote: The Pretender Charles Edward Stuart.]

The Scotch rebellion was produced by the attempts of the young
Pretender, Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart, to regain the
throne of his ancestors. His adventures have the interest of romance,
and have generally excited popular sympathy. He was born at Rome in
1720; served, at the age of fifteen, under the Duke of Berwick, in
Spain, and, at the age of twenty, received overtures from some
discontented people of Scotland to head an insurrection. There was, at
this time, great public distress, and George II. was exceedingly
unpopular. The Jacobites were powerful, and thousands wished for a
change, including many persons of rank and influence.

With only seven followers, in a small vessel, he landed on one of the
Western Islands, 18th of July, 1745. Even had the promises which had
been made to him by France, or by people in Scotland, been fulfilled,
his enterprise would have been most hazardous. But, without money,
men, or arms, his hopes were desperate. Still he cherished that
presumptuous self-confidence which so often passes for bravery, and
succeeded better than could have been anticipated. Several chieftains
of the Highland clans joined his standard, and he had the faculty of
gaining the hearts of his followers. At Borrodaile occurred his first
interview with the chivalrous Donald Cameron of Lochiel, who was
perfectly persuaded of the desperate character of his enterprise, but
nevertheless aided it with generous self-devotion.

The standard of Charles Edward was raised at Glenfinnan, on the 19th
of August, and a little band of seven hundred adventurers and
enthusiastic Highlanders resolved on the conquest of England! Never
was devotion to an unfortunate cause more romantic and sincere. Never
were energies more generously made, or more miserably directed. But
the first gush of enthusiasm and bravery was attended with success,
and the Pretender soon found himself at the head of fifteen hundred
men, and on his way to Edinburgh, marching among people friendly to
his cause, whom he endeared by every attention and gentlemanly
artifice. The simple people of the north of Scotland were won by his
smiles and courtesy, and were astonished at the exertions which the
young prince made, and the fatigues he was able to endure.

On the 15th of September, Charles had reached Linlithgow, only sixteen
miles from Edinburgh, where he was magnificently entertained in the
ancient and favorite palace of the kings of Scotland. Two days after,
he made his triumphal entry into the capital of his ancestors, the
place being unprepared for resistance. Colonel Gardiner, with his
regiment of dragoons, was faithful to his trust, and the magistrates
of Edinburgh did all in their power to prevent the surrender of the
city. But the great body of the citizens preferred to trust to the
clemency of Charles, than run the risk of defence.

[Sidenote: Surrender of Edinburgh.]

Thus, without military stores, or pecuniary resources, or powerful
friends, simply by the power of persuasion, the Pretender, in the
short space of two months from his landing in Scotland, quietly took
possession of the most powerful city of the north. The Jacobites put
no restraint to their idolatrous homage, and the ladies welcomed the
young and handsome chevalier with extravagant adulation. Even the
Whigs pitied him, and permitted him to enjoy his brief hour of

At Edinburgh, Charles received considerable reënforcement, and took
from the city one thousand stand of arms. He gave his followers but
little time for repose, and soon advanced against the royal army
commanded by Sir John Cope. The two armies met at Preston Pans, and
were of nearly equal force. The attack was made by the invader, and
was impetuous and unlooked for. Nothing could stand before the
enthusiasm and valor of the Highlanders, and in five minutes the rout
commenced, and a great slaughter of the regular army occurred. Among
those who fell was the distinguished Colonel Gardiner, an old veteran,
who refused to fly.

[Sidenote: Success of the Pretender.]

Charles followed up his victory with moderation, and soon was master
of all Scotland. He indulged his taste for festivities, at Holyrood,
for a while, and neglected no means to conciliate the Scotch. He
flattered their prejudices, gave balls and banquets, made love to
their most beautiful women, and denied no one access to his presence.
Poets sang his praises, and women extolled his heroism and beauty. The
light, the gay, the romantic, and the adventurous were on his side;
but the substantial and wealthy classes were against him, for they
knew he must be conquered in the end.

Still his success had been remarkable, and for it he was indebted to
the Highlanders, who did not wish to make him king of England, but
only king of Scotland. But Charles deceived them. He wanted the
sceptre of George II.; and when he commenced his march into England,
their spirits flagged, and his cause became hopeless. There was one
class of men who were inflexibly hostile to him--the Presbyterian
ministers. They looked upon him, from the first, with coldness and
harshness, and distrusted both his religion and sincerity. On them all
his arts, and flattery, and graces were lost; and they represented the
substantial part of the Scottish nation. It is extremely doubtful
whether Charles could ever have held Edinburgh, even if English armies
had not been sent against him.

But Charles had played a desperate game from the beginning, for the
small chance of winning a splendid prize. He, therefore, after resting
his troops, and collecting all the force he could, turned his face to
England at the head of five thousand men, well armed and well clothed,
but discontented and dispirited. They had never contemplated the
invasion of England, but only the recovery of the ancient independence
of Scotland.

[Sidenote: The Retreat of the Pretender.]

On the 8th of November, the Pretender set foot upon English soil, and
entered Carlisle in triumph. But his forces, instead of increasing,
diminished, and no popular enthusiasm supported the courage of his
troops. But he advanced towards the south, and reached Derby
unmolested on the 4th of December. There he learned that the royal
army, headed by the Duke of Cumberland, with twelve thousand veterans,
was advancing rapidly against him.

His followers clamored to return, and refused to advance another step.
They now fully perceived that success was not only hopeless, but that
victory would be of no advantage to them; that they would be
sacrificed by a man who only aimed at the conquest of England.

Charles was well aware of the desperate nature of the contest, but had
no desire to retreat. His situation was not worse than what it had
been when he landed on the Hebrides. Having penetrated to within one
hundred and twenty miles of London, against the expectations of every
one, why should he not persevere? Some unlooked-for success, some
lucky incidents, might restore him to the throne of his grandfather.
Besides, a French army of ten thousand was about to land in England.
The Duke of Norfolk, the first nobleman in the country, was ready to
declare in his favor. London was in commotion. A chance remained.

But his followers thought only of their homes, and Charles was obliged
to yield to an irresistible necessity. Like Richard Coeur de Lion
after the surrender of Acre, he was compelled to return, without
realizing the fruit of bravery and success. Like the lion-hearted
king, pensive and sad, sullen and miserable, he gave the order to
retreat. His spirits, hitherto buoyant and gladsome, now fell, and
despondency and despair succeeded vivacity and hope. He abandoned
himself to grief and vexation, lingered behind his retreating army,
and was reckless of his men and of their welfare. And well he may have
been depressed. The motto of Hampden, "_Vestigia nulla retrorsum_,"
had also governed him. But others would not be animated by it, and he
was ruined.

[Sidenote: Battle of Culloden.]

But his miserable and dejected army succeeded in reaching their native
soil, although pursued by the cavalry of two powerful armies, in the
midst of a hostile population, and amid great sufferings from hunger
and fatigue. On the 26th of December, he entered Glasgow, levied a
contribution on the people, and prepared himself for his final battle.
He retreated to the Highlands, and spent the winter in recruiting his
troops, and in taking fortresses. On the 15th of April, 1746, he drew
up his army on the moor of Culloden, near Inverness, with the
desperate resolution of attacking, with vastly inferior forces, the
Duke of Cumberland, intrenched nine miles distant. The design was
foolish and unfortunate. It was early discovered; and the fresh troops
of the royal duke attacked the dispirited, scattered, and wearied
followers of Charles Edward before they could form themselves in
battle array. They defended themselves with valor. But what is valor
against overwhelming force? The army of Charles was totally routed,
and his hopes were blasted forever.

The most horrid barbarities and cruelties were inflicted by the
victors. The wounded were left to die. The castles of rebel chieftains
were razed to the ground. Herds and flocks were driven away, and the
people left to perish with hunger. Some of the captives were sent to
Barbadoes, others were imprisoned, and many were shot. A reward of
thirty thousand pounds was placed on the head of the Pretender; but he
nevertheless escaped. After wandering a while as a fugitive,
disguised, wearied, and miserable, hunted from fortress to fortress,
and from island to island, he succeeded, by means of the unparalleled
loyalty and fidelity of his few Highland followers, in securing a
vessel, and in escaping to France. His adventures among the Western
Islands, especially those which happened while wandering, in the
disguise of a female servant, with Flora Macdonald, are highly
romantic and wonderful. Equally wonderful is the fact that, of the
many to whom his secret was intrusted, not one was disposed to betray
him, even in view of so splendid a bribe as thirty thousand pounds.
But this fact, though surprising, is not inconceivable. Had Washington
been unfortunate in his contest with the mother country, and had he
wandered as a fugitive amid the mountains of Vermont, would not many
Americans have shielded him, even in view of a reward of one hundred
thousand pounds?

[Sidenote: Latter Days of the Pretender.]

The latter days of the Pretender were spent in Rome and Florence. He
married a Polish princess, and assumed the title of _Duke of Albany_.
He never relinquished the hope of securing the English crown, and
always retained his politeness and grace of manner. But he became an
object of pity, not merely from his poverty and misfortunes, but also
from the vice of intemperance, which he acquired in Scotland. He died
of apoplexy, in 1788, and left no legitimate issue. The last male heir
of the house of Stuart was the Cardinal of York, who died in 1807, and
who was buried in St. Peter's Cathedral; over whose mortal remains was
erected a marble monument, by Canova, through the munificence of
George IV., to whom the cardinal had left the crown jewels which
James II. had carried with him to France. This monument bears the
names of James III., Charles III., and Henry IX., kings of England;
titles never admitted by the English. With the battle of Culloden
expired the hopes of the Catholics and Jacobites to restore
Catholicism and the Stuarts.

The great European war, which was begun by Sir Robert Walpole, not
long before his retirement, was another great event which happened
during the administration of the Pelhams, and with which their
administration was connected. The Spanish war was followed by the war
of the Austrian Succession.

[Sidenote: Maria Theresa.]

Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, ascended the oldest and proudest
throne of Europe,--that of Germany,--amid a host of claimants. The
Elector of Bavaria laid claim to her hereditary dominions in Bohemia;
the King of Sardinia made pretension to the duchy of Milan; while the
Kings of Poland, Spain, France, and Prussia disputed with her her
rights to the whole Austrian succession. Never were acts of gross
injustice meditated with greater audacity. Just as the young and
beautiful princess ascended the throne of Charlemagne, amid
embarrassments and perplexities,--such as an exhausted treasury, a
small army, a general scarcity, threatened hostilities with the Turks,
and absolute war with France,--the new king of Prussia, Frederic,
surnamed the Great, availing himself of her distresses, seized one of
the finest provinces of her empire. The first notice which the queen
had of the seizure of Silesia, was an insulting speech from the
Prussian ambassador. "I come," said he, "with safety for the house of
Austria on the one hand, and the imperial crown for your royal
highness on the other. The troops of my master are at the service of
the queen, and cannot fail of being acceptable, at a time when she is
in want of both. And as the king, my master, from the situation of his
dominions, will be exposed to great danger from this alliance with the
Queen of Hungary, it is hoped that, as an indemnification, the queen
will not offer him less than the whole duchy of Silesia."

The queen, of course, was indignant in view of this cool piece of
villany, and prepared to resist. War with all the continental powers
was the result. France joined the coalition to deprive the queen of
her empire. Two French armies invaded Germany. The Elector of Bavaria
marched, with a hostile army, to within eight miles of Vienna. The
King of Prussia made himself master of Silesia. Abandoned by all her
allies,--without an army, or ministers, or money,--the queen fled to
Hungary, her hereditary dominions, and threw herself on the generosity
of her subjects. She invoked the states of the Diet, and, clad in deep
mourning, with the crown of St. Stephen on her head, and a cimeter at
her side, she traversed the hall in which her nobles were assembled,
and addressed them, in the immortal language of Rome, respecting her
wrongs and her distresses. Her faithful subjects responded to her
call; and youth, beauty, and rank, in distress, obtained their natural
triumph. "A thousand swords leaped from their scabbards," and the old
hall rung with the cry, "We will die for our queen, Maria Theresa."
Tears started from the eyes of the queen, whom misfortunes and insult
could not bend, and called forth, even more than her words, the
enthusiasm of her subjects.

It was in defence of this injured and noble queen that the English
parliament voted supplies and raised armies. This was the war which
characterized the Pelham administration, and to which Walpole was
opposed. But it will be further presented, when allusion is made to
Frederic the Great.

France no sooner formed an alliance with Prussia, against Austria,
than the "balance of power" seemed to be disturbed. To restore this
balance, and preserve Austria, was the aim of England. To the desire
to preserve this power may be traced most of the wars of the
eighteenth century. The idea of a balance of power was the leading
principle which animated all the diplomatic transactions of Europe for
more than a century.

By the treaty of Breslau, (1742,) Maria Theresa yielded up to Frederic
the province of Silesia, and Europe might have remained at peace. But
as England and France were both involved in the contest, their old
spirit of rivalry returned; and, from auxiliaries, they became
principals in the war, and soon renewed it. The theatre of strife was
changed from Germany to Holland, and the arms of France were
triumphant. The Duke of Cumberland was routed by Marshal Saxe at the
great battle of Fontenoy; and this battle restored peace, for a while,
to Germany. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, husband of Maria Theresa, was
elected Emperor of Germany, and assumed the title of Francis I.

But it was easier to restore tranquillity to Germany, than peace
between England and France; both powers panting for military glory,
and burning with mutual jealousy. The peace of Aix la Chapelle, in
1748, was a truce rather than a treaty; and France and England soon
found occasion to plunge into new hostilities.

[Sidenote: Capture of Louisburg.]

During the war of the Austrian Succession, hostilities had not been
confined to the continent of Europe. As colonial jealousy was one of
the animating principles of two of the leading powers in the contest,
the warfare extended to the colonies themselves. A body of French,
from Cape Breton, surprised the little English garrison of Canseau,
destroyed the fort and fishery, and removed eighty men, as prisoners
of war, to Louisburg--the strongest fortress, next to Quebec, in
French America. These men were afterwards sent to Boston, on parole,
and, while there, communicated to Governor Shirley the state of the
fortress in which they had been confined. Shirley resolved to capture
it, and the legislature of Massachusetts voted supplies for the
expedition. All the New England colonies sent volunteers; and the
united forces, of about four thousand men were put under the command
of William Pepperell, a merchant at Kittery Point, near Portsmouth.
The principal part of the forces was composed of fishermen; but they
were Yankees. Amid the fogs of April, this little army, rich in
expedients, set sail to take a fortress which five hundred men could
defend against five thousand. But they were successful, aided by an
English fleet; and, after a siege of three months, Louisburg
surrendered, (1745)--justly deemed the greatest achievement of the
whole war.

[Sidenote: Great Colonial Contest.]

But the French did not relinquish their hopes of gaining an ascendency
on the American continent, and prosecuted their labors of erecting on
the Ohio their chain of fortifications, to connect Canada with
Louisiana. The erection of these forts was no small cause of the
breaking out of fresh hostilities. When the contest was renewed
between Maria Theresa and Frederic the Great, and the famous Seven
Years' War began, the English resolved to conquer all the French
possessions in America.

Without waiting, however, for directions from England, Governor
Dinwiddie, of Virginia, raised a regiment of troops, of which George
Washington was made lieutenant-colonel, and with which he marched
across the wilderness to attack Fort Du Quesne, now Pittsburg, at the
junction of the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers.

That unsuccessful expedition was the commencement of the great
colonial contest in which Canada was conquered. Early in 1755, General
Braddock was sent to America to commence offensive operations. The
colonies coöperated, and three expeditions were planned; one to attack
Fort Du Quesne, a second to attack Fort Niagara, and a third to attack
Crown Point. The first was to be composed of British troops, under
Braddock, the second of American, under Governor Shirley, and the
third of militia of the northern colonies.

The expedition against Fort Du Quesne was a memorable failure.
Braddock was a brave man, but unfitted for his work, Hyde Park having
hitherto been the only field of his military operations. Moreover,
with that presumption and audacity which then characterized his
countrymen, he affected sovereign contempt for his American
associates, and would listen to no advice. Unacquainted with Indian
warfare, and ignorant of the country, he yet pressed towards the
interior, until, within ten miles of Fort Du Quesne, he was surprised
by a body of French and Indians, and taken in an ambuscade. Instant
retreat might still have saved him; but he was too proud not to fight
according to rule; and he fell mortally wounded. Washington was the
only mounted officer that escaped being killed or wounded. By his
prudent and skilful management, he saved half of his men, who formed
after the battle, and effected a retreat.

The other two expeditions also failed, chiefly through want of union
between the provincial governor and the provincial assemblies, and
also from the moral effects of the defeat of Braddock. Moreover, the
colonies perfectly understood that they were fighting, not for
liberty, but for the glory and ambition of the mother country, and
therefore did not exhibit the ardor they evinced in the revolutionary

But the failure of these expeditions contributed to make the ministry
of the Duke of Newcastle unpopular. Other mistakes were also made in
the old world. The conduct of Admiral Byng in the Mediterranean
excited popular clamor. The repeated disappointments and miscarriages,
the delay of armaments, the neglect of opportunities, the absurd
disposition of fleets, were numbered among the misfortunes which
resulted from a weak and incapable ministry. Stronger men were
demanded by the indignant voice of the nation, and the Duke of
Newcastle, first lord of the treasury, since the death of his brother,
was obliged to call Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge--the two most popular
commoners of England--into the cabinet. But the new administration did
not work harmoniously. It was an emblem of that image which
Nebuchadnezzar beheld in a vision, with a head of gold, and legs of
iron, and feet of clay. Pitt and Legge were obliged by their colleague
to resign. But their removal incensed the whole nation, and so great
was the clamor, that the king was compelled to reinstate the popular
idols--the only men capable of managing affairs at that crisis. Pitt
became secretary of state, and Legge chancellor of the exchequer. The
Duke of Newcastle, after being at the head of administration ten
years, was, reluctantly, compelled to resign. The Duke of Devonshire
became nominally the premier, but Pitt was the ruling spirit in the

[Sidenote: Character of the Duke of Newcastle.]

The character of the Duke of Newcastle is thus sketched by Horace
Walpole; "He had no pride, but infinite self-love. Jealousy was the
great source of all his faults. There was no expense to which he was
addicted but generosity. His houses, gardens, table, and equipage,
swallowed immense sums, and the sums he owed were only exceeded by
those he wasted. He loved business immoderately, but was always doing
it; he never did it. His speeches were copious in words, but empty and
unmeaning, his professions extravagant, and his curiosity insatiable.
He was a secretary of state without intelligence, a duke without
money, a man of infinite intrigue without secrecy, and a minister
hated by all parties, without being turned out by either." "All able
men," adds Macaulay, "ridiculed him as a dunce, a driveller, a child
who never knew his own mind an hour together; and yet he overreached
them all."

[Sidenote: Unpopularity of the Pelhams.]

The Pelham administration cannot, on the whole, be called fortunate,
nor, on the other hand, a disgraceful one. The Pelhams "showed
themselves," says Smyth, "friendly to the principles of mild
government." With all their faults, they were tolerant, peaceful,
prudent; they had the merit of respecting public opinion; and though
they were not fitted to advance the prosperity of their country by any
exertions of political genius, they were not blind to such
opportunities as fairly presented themselves. But they were not fitted
for the stormy times in which they lived, and quietly yielded to the
genius of a man whom they did not like, and whom the king absolutely
hated. George II., against his will, was obliged to intrust the helm
of state to the only man in the nation capable of holding it.

The administration of William Pitt is emphatically the history of the
civilized world, during a period of almost universal war. It was for
his talents as a war minister that he was placed at the head of the
government, and his policy, like that of his greater son, in a still
more stormy epoch, was essentially warlike. In the eyes of his
contemporaries, his administration was brilliant and successful, and
he undoubtedly raised England to a high pitch of military glory; but
glory, alas! most dearly purchased, since it led to the imposition of
taxes beyond a parallel, and the vast increase of the national debt.

[Sidenote: Rise of William Pitt.]

He was born in 1708, of good family, his grandfather having been
governor of Madras, and the purchaser of the celebrated diamond which
bears his name, and which was sold to the regent of France for one
hundred and thirty-five thousand pounds. William Pitt was sent to
Oxford at the age of seventeen, and at twenty-seven, became a member
of parliament. From the first, he was heard with attention, and, when
years and experience had given him wisdom and power, his eloquence was
overwhelming. No one ever equalled him in brilliant invective and
scorching sarcasm. He had not the skill of Fox in debate, nor was he a
great reasoner, like Murray; he did not talk philosophy, like Burke,
nor was he master of details, like his son; but he had an air of
sincerity, a vehemence of feeling, an intense enthusiasm, and a moral
elevation of sentiment, which bore every thing away before him.

When Walpole was driven from power, Pitt exerted his eloquence in
behalf of the Pelham government. Being personally obnoxious to the
king, he obtained no office. But he was not a man to be amused by
promises long, and, as he would not render his indispensable services
without a reward, he was made paymaster of the forces--a lucrative
office, but one which did not give him a seat in the cabinet. This
office he retained for eight years, which were years of peace. But
when the horizon was overclouded by the death of Henry Pelham, in
1754, and difficulties arose between France and England respecting
North America and the East Indies; when disasters in war tarnished the
glory of the British arms, and the Duke of Newcastle showed his
incapacity to meet the national crisis, Pitt commenced a furious
opposition. Of course he was dismissed from office. But the Duke of
Newcastle could not do without him, and the king was obliged to call
him into the cabinet as secretary of state, in 1756. But the
administration did not work. The king opposed the views of Pitt, and
he was compelled to resign. Then followed disasters and mistakes. The
resignation of the Duke of Newcastle became an imperative necessity.
Despondency and gloom hung over the nation, and he was left without
efficient aid in the House of Commons. Nothing was left to the king
but to call in the aid of the man he hated; and Pitt, as well as
Legge, were again reinstated, the Duke of Devonshire remaining
nominally at the head of the administration.

But this administration only lasted five months, during which Admiral
Byng was executed, and the Seven Years' War, of which Frederic of
Prussia was the hero, fairly commenced. In 1757, Pitt and his
colleague were again dismissed. But never was popular resentment more
fierce and terrible. Again was the king obliged to bend to the "great
commoner." An arrangement was made, and a coalition formed. Pitt
became secretary of state, and virtual premier, but the Duke of
Newcastle came in as first lord of the treasury. But Pitt selected the
cabinet. His brother-in-law, Lord Temple, was made keeper of the privy
seal, and Lord Grenville was made treasurer of the navy; Fox became
paymaster of the forces; the Duke of Bedford received the lord
lieutenancy of Ireland; Hardwicke, the greatest lawyer of his age
became lord chancellor; Legge, the ablest financier, was made
chancellor of the exchequer. Murray, a little while before, had been
elevated to the bench, as Lord Mansfield. There was scarcely an
eminent man in the House of Commons who was not made a member of the
administration. All the talent of the nation was laid at the feet of
Pitt, and he had the supreme direction of the army and of foreign

Then truly commenced the brilliant career of Pitt. He immediately
prosecuted hostilities with great boldness, and on a gigantic scale.
Immense armies were raised and sent to all parts of the world.

[Sidenote: Brilliant Military Successes.]

But nothing raised the reputation of Pitt so highly as military
operations in America. He planned, immediately on his assumption of
supreme power as virtual dictator of England, three great
expeditions--one against Louisburg, a second against Ticonderoga, and
a third against Fort Du Quesne. Two of these were attended with
triumphant success, (1758.)

Louisburg, which had been surrendered to France by the treaty of Aix
la Chapelle, was reduced by General Amherst, though only with a force
of fourteen thousand men.

General Forbes marched, with eight thousand men, against Fort Du
Quesne; but it was abandoned by the enemy before he reached it.

Ticonderoga was not, however, taken, although the expedition was
conducted by General Abercrombie, with a force of sixteen thousand

Thus nearly the largest military force ever known at one time in
America was employed nearly a century ago, by William Pitt, composed
of fifty thousand men, of whom twenty-two thousand were regular

[Sidenote: Military Successes in America.]

The campaign of 1759 was attended with greater results than even that
of the preceding year. General Amherst succeeded Abercrombie, and the
plan for the reduction of Canada was intrusted to him for execution.
Three great expeditions were projected: one was to be commanded by
General Wolfe, who had distinguished himself at the siege of
Louisburg, and who had orders from the war secretary to ascend the St.
Lawrence, escorted by the fleet, and lay siege to Quebec. The second
army, of twelve thousand men, under General Amherst, was ordered to
reduce Ticonderoga and Crown Point, cross Lake Champlain, and proceed
along the River Richelieu to the banks of the St. Lawrence, join
General Wolfe, and assist in the reduction of Quebec. The third army
was sent to Fort Niagara, the most important post in French America,
since it commanded the lakes, and overawed the whole country of the
Six Nations. After the reduction of this fort, the army was ordered
down the St. Lawrence to besiege Montreal.

That this project was magnificent, and showed the comprehensive
military genius of Pitt, cannot be doubted. But that it was easy of
execution may well be questioned, when it is remembered that the
navigation of the St. Lawrence was difficult and dangerous; that the
fortifications and strength of Quebec were unrivalled in the new
world; that the French troops between Montreal and Quebec numbered
nine thousand men, besides Indians, commanded, too, by so great a
general as Montcalm. Still all of these expeditions were successful.
Quebec and Niagara were taken, and Crown Point and Ticonderoga were

The most difficult part of the enterprise was the capture of Quebec,
which was one of the most brilliant military exploits ever performed,
and which raised the English general to the very summit of military
fame. He was disappointed in the expected coöperation of General
Amherst, and he had to take one of the strongest fortresses in the
world, defended by troops superior in number to his own. He succeeded
in climbing the almost perpendicular rock on which the fortress was
built, and in overcoming a superior force. Wolfe died in the attack,
but lived long enough to hear of the flight of the enemy. Nothing
could exceed the tumultuous joy in England with which the news of the
fall of Quebec was received; nothing could surpass the interest with
which the distant expedition was viewed; and the depression of the
French was equal to the enthusiasm of the English. Wolfe gained an
immortal name, and a monument was erected to him in Westminster Abbey.
But Pitt reaped the solid and substantial advantages which resulted
from the conquest of Canada, which soon followed the reduction of
Quebec. He became the nation's idol, and was left to prosecute the
various wars in which England was engaged, in his own way.

[Sidenote: Victories of Clive in India.]

While the English armies, under the direction of Pitt, were wresting
from the French nearly all their possessions in America, Clive was
adding a new empire to the vast dominions of Great Britain. India was
conquered, and the British power firmly planted in the East. Moreover,
the English allies on the continent--the Prussians--obtained great
victories, which will be alluded to in the chapter on Frederic the
Great. On all sides the English were triumphant, and were intoxicated
with joy. The stocks rose, and the bells rang almost an incessant peal
for victories.

In the midst of these public rejoicings, King George II. died. He was
a sovereign who never secured the affections of the nation, whose
interests he sacrificed to those of his German electorate, "He had
neither the qualities which make libertinism attractive nor the
qualities which make dulness respectable. He had been a bad son, and
he made a worse father. Not one magnanimous action is recorded of him,
but many meannesses. But his judgment was sound, his habits
economical, and his spirit bold. These qualities prevented him from
being despised, if they did not make him honored."

His grandson, George III., entered upon his long reign, October, 1760,
in the twenty-third year of his age, and was universally admitted to
be the most powerful monarch in Christendom--or, rather, the monarch
of the most powerful kingdom. He, or, rather, his ministers, resolved
to prosecute the war with vigor, and parliament voted liberal
supplies. The object of Pitt was the humiliation of both France and
Austria, and also the protection of Prussia, struggling against almost
overwhelming forces. He secured his object by administering to the
nation those draughts of flattery and military glory which intoxicated
the people.

[Sidenote: Resignation of Pitt.]

However sincere the motives and brilliant the genius of the minister,
it was impossible that a practical nation should not awake from the
delusion, which he so powerfully contributed to produce. People at
last inquired "why England was to become a party in a dispute between
two German powers, and why were the best English regiments fighting on
the Maine?" What was it to the busy shopkeeper of London that the
Tower guns were discharged, and the streets illuminated, if he were to
be additionally taxed? Statesmen began to calculate the enormous sums
which had been wasted in an expensive war, where nothing had been
gained but glory. Besides, jealousies and enmities sprung up against
Pitt. Some were offended by his haughtiness, and others were estranged
by his withering invective. And his enemies were numerous and
powerful. Even the cabinet ministers, who were his friends, turned
against him. He wished to declare war against Spain, while the nation
was bleeding at every pore. But the cabinet could not be persuaded of
the necessity of the war, and Pitt, of course, resigned. But it was
inevitable, and took place under his successor. Pitt left the helm of
state with honor. He received a pension of three thousand pounds a
year, and his wife was made a baroness.

The Earl of Bute succeeded him as premier, and was the first Tory
minister since the accession of the house of Hanover. His watchword
was _prerogative_. The sovereign should no longer be a gilded puppet,
but a real king--an impossible thing in England. But his schemes
pleased the king, and Oxford University, and Dr. Johnson; while his
administration was assailed with a host of libels from Wilkes,
Churchill, and other kindred firebrands.

His main act was the peace he secured to Europe. The Whigs railed at
it then, and rail at it now; and Macaulay falls in with the
lamentation of his party, and regrets that no better terms should have
been made. But what can satisfy the ambition of England? The peace of
Paris, in 1763, stipulated that Canada, with the Island of St. John,
and Cape Breton, and all that part of Louisiana which lies east of the
Mississippi, except New Orleans, should be ceded to Great Britain, and
that the fortifications of Dunkirk should be destroyed; that Spain
should relinquish her claim to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland,
should permit the English to cut mahogany on the shores of Honduras
Bay, and cede Florida and Minorca to Great Britain. In return for
these things, the French were permitted to fish on the Banks of
Newfoundland, and the Islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, Belleisle,
and St. Lucia were restored to them, and Cuba was restored to Spain.

[Sidenote: Peace of Paris.]

The peace of Paris, in 1763, constitutes an epoch; and we hence turn
to survey the condition of France since the death of Louis XIV., and
also other continental powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Archdeacon Coxe's History of the Pelham
     Administration. Thackeray's Life of Lord Chatham. Macaulay's
     Essay on Chatham. Horace Walpole's Reminiscences. Smyth's
     Lectures on Modern History. Jesse's Memoirs of the
     Pretenders. Graham's History of the United States, an
     exceedingly valuable work, but not sufficiently known. Lord
     Mahon's, Smollett's, Tyndal's, and Belsham's, are the
     standard histories of England, at this period; also, the
     continuation of Mackintosh, and the Pictorial History, are
     valuable. See also the Marchmont Papers, Ray's History of
     the Rebellion, Horace Walpole's Memoirs of George II., Lord
     Waldegrave's Memoirs, and Doddington's Diary.



The reign of Louis XV. was one of the longest on record extending from
1715 to 1774--the greater part of the eighteenth century. But he was a
child, only five years of age, on the death of his great grandfather,
Louis XIV.; and, even after he came to his majority, he was ruled by
his ministers and his mistresses. He was not, like Louis XIV., the
life and the centre of all great movements in his country. He was an
automaton, a pageant; not because the constitution imposed checks on
his power, but because he was weak and vacillating. He, therefore,
performing no great part in history, is only to be alluded to, and
attention should be mainly directed to his ministers.

[Sidenote: Regency of the Duke of Orleans.]

During the minority of the king, the reins of government were held by
the Duke of Orleans, as regent, and who, in case of the king's death,
would be the next king, being grand-nephew of Louis XIV. The
administration of the Duke of Orleans is nearly contemporaneous with
that of Sir Robert Walpole. The most pressing subject which demanded
the attention of the regent, was that of the finances. The late king
had left a debt of one thousand millions of livres--an enormous sum in
that age. To get rid of this burden, the Duke of St. Simon proposed a
bankruptcy. "This," said he, "would fall chiefly on the commercial and
moneyed classes, who were not to be feared or pitied; and would,
moreover, be not only a relief to the state, but a salutary warning to
the ignoble classes not to lend their money." This speech illustrates
the feelings and opinions of the aristocratic class in France, at that
time. But the minister of finance would not run the risk of incurring
the popular odium which such a measure would have produced, and he
proposed calling together the States General. The regent duke,
however, would not hear of that measure, and yet did not feel inclined
to follow fully the advice of St. Simon. He therefore compromised the
matter, and resolved to rob the national creditor. He established a
commission to verify the bills of the public creditors, and, if their
accounts did not prove satisfactory, to cancel them entirely. Three
hundred and fifty millions of livres--equal, probably, to three
hundred millions of dollars in this age--were thus swept away. But it
was resolved not only to refuse to pay just debts, but to make people
repay the gains which they had made. Those who had loaned money to the
state, or had farmed the revenues, were flung into prison, and
threatened with confiscation of their goods, and even death,--treated
as Jews were treated in the Dark Ages,--unless they redeemed
themselves by purchasing a pardon. Never before did men suffer such a
penalty for having befriended an embarrassed state. To this injustice
and cruelty the magistracy winked. But, in addition to this, the coin
was debased to such an extent, that seventy-two millions of livres
were thus added to the treasury. Yet even these gains were not enough
to satisfy a profligate government. There still continued a constant
pressure. The national debt had increased even to fifteen hundred
millions of livres, or almost seventy millions sterling--equivalent to
what would now be equal to at least one thousand millions of dollars.

[Sidenote: John Law.]

To get rid of this debt, the regent listened to the schemes of the
celebrated John Law, a Scotch adventurer and financier, who had
established a bank, had grown rich, and was reputed to be a wonderful
political economist.

Law proposed, in substance, to increase the paper currency of the
country, and thus supersede the necessity for the use of the precious

The regent, moreover, having great faith in Law's abilities, and in
his wealth, converted his private bank into a royal one--made it, in
short, the Bank of France. This bank was then allied with the two
great commercial companies of the time--the East India and the
Mississippi. Great privileges were bestowed on each. The latter had
the exclusive monopoly of the trade with Louisiana, and all the
countries on the Mississippi River, and also of the fur trade in
Canada. Louisiana was then supposed to be rich in gold mines, and
great delusions arose from the popular notion.

[Sidenote: Mississippi Company.]

The capital of this gigantic corporation was fixed at one hundred
millions and Law, who was made director-general, aimed to make the
notes of the company preferable to specie, which, however could
lawfully be demanded for the notes. So it was settled that the shares
of the company could only be purchased by the paper of the bank. As
extravagant hopes of gain were cherished respecting the company, its
shares were in great demand. And, as only Law's bank bills could
purchase the shares, the gold and silver of the realm flowed into
Law's bank. Law and the regent had, therefore, the fabrication of both
shares and bank bills to an indefinite amount.

The national creditor was also paid in the notes of the bank, and, as
unbounded confidence existed, both in the genius of Law and in the
profits of the Mississippi Company,--as the shares were constantly in
demand, and were rising in value,--the creditor was satisfied. In a
short time, one half of the national debt was transferred. Government
owed the bank, and not the individuals and corporations from whom
loans had been originally obtained. These individuals, instead of
government scrip, had shares in the Mississippi Company.

And all would have been well, had the company's shares been valuable,
or had they retained their credit, or even had but a small part of the
national debt been transferred. But the people did not know the real
issues of the bank, and so long as new shares could be created and
sold to pay the interest, the company's credit was good. For a while
the delusion lasted. Law was regarded as a great national benefactor.
His house was thronged with dukes and princes. He became
controller-general of the finances--virtually prime minister. His fame
extended far and wide. Honors were showered upon him from every
quarter. He was elected a member of the French Academy. His schemes
seemed to rain upon Paris a golden shower. He had freed the state from
embarrassments, and he had, apparently, made every body rich, and no
one poor. He was a deity, as beneficent as he was powerful. He became
himself the richest man in Europe. Every body was intoxicated. The
golden age had come. Paris was crowded with strangers from all parts
of the world. Five hundred thousand strangers expended their fortunes,
in hope of making greater ones. Twelve hundred new coaches were set up
in the city. Lodgings could scarcely be had for money. The highest
price was paid for provisions. Widow ladies, clergymen, and noblemen
deserted London to speculate in stocks at Paris. Nothing was seen but
new equipages, new houses, new apparel, new furniture. Nothing was
felt but universal exhilaration. Every man seemed to have made his
fortune. The stocks rose every day. The higher they rose, the more new
stock was created. At last, the shares of the company rose from one
hundred to twelve hundred per cent., and three hundred millions were
created, which were nominally worth, in 1719, three thousand six
hundred millions of livres--one hundred and eighty times the amount of
all the gold and silver in Europe at that time.

[Sidenote: Popular Delusion.]

In this public delusion, the directors were wise enough to convert
_their_ shares into silver and gold. A great part of the current coin
in the kingdom was locked up in the houses or banks of a few
stockjobbers and speculators.

But the scarcity of gold and silver was felt, people's eyes were
opened, and the bubble burst, but not until half of the national debt
had been paid off by this swindling transaction.

The nation was furious. A panic spread among all classes; the bank had
no money with which to redeem its notes; the shares fell almost to
nothing; and universal bankruptcy took place. Those who, a few days
before, fancied themselves rich, now found themselves poor. Property
of all kinds fell to less than its original value. Houses, horses,
carriages, upholstery, every thing, declined in price. All were
sellers, and few were purchasers.

But popular execration and vengeance pursued the financier who had
deceived the nation. He was forced to fly from Paris. His whole
property was confiscated, and he was reduced to indigence and
contempt. When his scheme was first suggested to the regent, he was
worth three millions of livres. He had better remained a private

The bursting of the Mississippi bubble, of course, inflamed the nation
against the government, and the Duke of Orleans was execrated, for his
agency in the business had all the appearance of a fraud. But he was
probably deluded with others, and hoped to free the country from its
burdens. The great blunder was in the over-issue of notes when there
was no money to redeem them.

Nor could any management have prevented the catastrophe.

[Sidenote: Fatal Effects of the Delusion.]

It was not possible that the shares of the company should advance so
greatly, and the public not perceive that they had advanced beyond
their value; it was not possible, that, while paper money so vastly
increased in quantity, the numerical prices of all other things should
not increase also, and that foreigners who sold their manufactures to
the French should not turn their paper into gold, and carry it out of
the kingdom; it was not possible that the disappearance of the coin
should not create alarm, notwithstanding the edicts of the regent, and
the reasonings of Law; it was not possible that annuitants should not
discover that their old incomes were now insufficient and less
valuable, as the medium in which they were paid was less valuable; it
was not possible that the small part of society which may be called
the sober and reasoning part, should not be so struck with the sudden
fortunes and extravagant enthusiasm which prevailed, as not to doubt
of the solidity of a system, unphilosophical in itself, and which,
after all, had to depend on the profits of a commercial company, the
good faith of the regent, and the skill of Law; it was impossible, on
these and other accounts, but that gold and silver should be at last
preferred to paper notes, of whatever description or promise. These
were inevitable consequences. Hence the failure of the scheme of Law,
and the ruin of all who embarked in it, owing to a change in public
opinion as to the probable success of the scheme, and, secondly, the
over-issue of money.

By this great folly, four hundred thousand families were ruined, or
greatly reduced; but the government got rid of about eight hundred
millions of debts. The sufferings of the people, with such a
government, did not, however, create great solicitude; the same old
course of folly and extravagance was pursued by the court.

Nor was there a change for the better when Louis XV. attained his
majority. His vices and follies exceeded all that had ever been
displayed before. The support of his mistresses alone was enough to
embarrass the nation. Their waste and extravagance almost exceeded
belief. Who has not heard of the disgraceful and disgusting iniquities
of Pompadour and Du Barry?

The regency of the Duke of Orleans occupied the first eight years of
the reign of Louis XV. The prime minister of the regent was Dubois, at
first his tutor, and afterwards Archbishop of Cambray. He was rewarded
with a cardinal's hat for the service he rendered to the Jesuits in
their quarrel with the Jansenists, but was a man of unprincipled
character; a fit minister to a prince who pretended to be too
intellectual to worship God, and who copied Henry IV. only in his

The first minister of Louis XV., after he assumed himself the reins of
government, was the Duke of Bourbon, lineal heir of the house of
Condé, and first prince of the blood. But he was a man of no
character, and his short administration was signalized by no important

[Sidenote: Administration of Cardinal Fleury.]

Cardinal Fleury succeeded the Duke of Bourbon as prime minister. He
had been preceptor of the king, and was superior to all the intrigues
of the court; a man of great timidity, but also a man of great
probity, gentleness, and benignity. Fortunately, he was intrusted with
power at a period of great domestic tranquillity, and his
administration was, like that of Walpole, pacific. He projected,
however, no schemes of useful reform, and made no improvements in laws
or finance. But he ruled despotically, and with good intentions, from
1726 to 1743.

The most considerable subject of interest connected with his peaceful
administration, was the quarrel between the Jesuits and the
Jansenists. Fleury took the side of the former, although he was never
an active partisan; and he was induced to support the Jesuits for the
sake of securing the cardinal's hat--the highest honor, next to that
of the tiara, which could be conferred on an ecclesiastic. The Jesuits
upheld the crumbling power of the popes, and the popes rewarded the
advocates of that body of men, who were their ablest supporters.

The Jansenist controversy is too important to be passed over with a
mere allusion. It was the great event in the history of Catholic
Europe during the seventeenth century. It involved principles of great
theological, and even political interest.

[Sidenote: Cornelius Jansen.]

The Jansenist controversy grew out of the long-disputed questions
pertaining to grace and free will--questions which were agitated with
great spirit and acrimony in the seventeenth century as they had
previously been centuries before by Augustine and Pelagius. The
Jesuits had never agreed with the great oracle of the Western church
in his views on certain points, and it was their aim to show the
absolute freedom of the human will--that it had a self-determining
power, a perfect liberty to act or not to act. Molina, a Spanish
Jesuit, had been a great defender of this ancient Pelagianism, and his
views were opposed by the Dominicans, and the controversy was carried
into all the universities of Europe. The Council of Trent was too wise
to meddle with this difficult question; but angry theologians would
not let it rest, and it was discussed with peculiar fervor in the
Catholic University of Louvaine. Among the doctors who there
distinguished themselves in reviving the great contest of the fifth
and sixth centuries, were Cornelius Jansen of Holland, and Jean de
Verger of Gascony. Both these doctors hated the Jesuits, and lamented
the dangerous doctrines which they defended, and advocated the views
of Augustine and the Calvinists. Jansen became professor of divinity
in the university, and then Bishop of Ypres. After an uninterrupted
study of twenty years, he produced his celebrated book called
_Augustinus_, in which he set forth the servitude of the will, and the
necessity of divine grace to break the bondage, which, however, he
maintained, like Calvin, is imparted only to a few, and in pursuance
of a decree existing in the divine mind before the creation of our
species. But Jansen died before the book was finished, and two years
elapsed before it was published, but, when published, it was the
signal for a contest which distracted Europe for seventy years.

[Sidenote: St. Cyran--Arnauld--Le Maitre.]

While Jansen was preparing this work, his early companion and friend,
De Verger, a man of family and rank, had become abbot of the monastery
of St. Cyran in Paris, and had formed, in the centre of that gay city,
a learned and ascetic hermitage. This was during the reign of
Louis XIII. His reputation, as a scholar and a saint, attracted the
attention of Richelieu, and his services were solicited by that able
minister. But neither rewards, nor flatteries, nor applause had power
over the mind of St. Cyran, as he was now called. The cardinal hated
and feared a man whom he could not bribe or win, and soon found means
to quarrel with him, and sent him to the gloomy fortress of Vincennes.
But there, in his prison, he devoted himself, with renewed ardor, to
his studies and duties, subduing his appetites and passions by an
asceticism which even his church did not require, and devoting all his
thoughts and words to the service of God. Like Calvin and Augustine,
he had so profound a conception of the necessity of an inward change,
that he made grace precede repentance. A man so serene in trial, so
humble in spirit, so natural and childlike in ordinary life, and yet
so distinguished for talents and erudition, could not help exciting
admiration, and making illustrious proselytes. Among them was Arnauld
D'Antilly, the intimate friend of Richelieu and Anne of Austria; Le
Maitre, the most eloquent lawyer and advocate in France; and Angelique
Arnauld, the abbess of Port Royal. This last was one of the most
distinguished ladies of her age, noble by birth, and still more noble
by her beautiful qualities of mind and heart. She had been made abbess
of her Cistercian convent at the age of eleven years, and at that time
was gay, social, and light-hearted. The preaching of a Capuchin friar
had turned her thoughts to the future world, and she closed the gates
of her beautiful abbey, in the vale of Chevreuse, against all
strangers, and devoted herself to the ascetic duties which her church
and age accounted most meritorious. She soon after made the
acquaintance of St. Cyran, and he imbued her mind with the principles
of the Augustinian theology. When imprisoned at Vincennes, he was
still the spiritual father of Port Royal. Amid this famous retreat
were collected the greatest scholars and the greatest saints of the
seventeenth century--Antoine Le Maitre, De Lericourt, Le Maitre de
Saci, Antoine Arnauld, and Pascal himself. Le Maitre de Saci gave to
the world the best translation of the Bible in French; Arnauld wrote
one hundred volumes of controversy, and, among them, a noted satire on
the Jesuits, which did them infinite harm; while Pascal, besides his
wonderful mathematical attainments, and his various meditative works,
is immortalized for his Provincial Letters, written in the purest
French, and with matchless power and beauty. This work, directed
against the Jesuits, is an inimitable model of elegant irony, and the
most effective sarcasm probably ever elaborated by man. In the vale of
Port Royal also dwelt Tillemont, the great ecclesiastical historian;
Fontaine and Racine, who were controlled by the spirit of Arnauld, as
well as the Prince of Conti, and the Duke of Liancourt. There resided,
under the name of _Le Merrier_, and in the humble occupation of a
gardener, one of the proudest nobles of the French court; and there,
too, dwelt the celebrated Duchess of Longueville, sister of the Prince
of Condé, the life of the Fronde, the idol of the Parisian mob, and the
once gay patroness of the proudest festivities.

[Sidenote: The Labors of the Port Royalists.]

But it is the labors of these saints, scholars, and nobles to repress
the dangerous influence of the Jesuits for which they were most
distinguished. The Jansenists of Port Royal did not deny the authority
of the pope, nor the great institutions of the papacy. They sought
chiefly, in their controversy with the Jesuits, to enforce the
doctrines of Augustine respecting justification. But their efforts
were not agreeable to the popes, nor to the doctors of the Sorbonne,
who had no sympathy with their religious life, and detested their bold
spirit of inquiry. The doctors of the Sorbonne, accordingly, extracted
from the book of Jansen five propositions which they deemed heretical,
and urged the pope to condemn them. The Port Royalists admitted that
these five propositions were indefensible if they were declared
heretical by the sovereign pontiff, but denied that they were actually
to be found in the book of Jansen. They did not quarrel with the pope
on grounds of faith. They recognized his infallibility in matters of
religion, but not in matters of fact. The pope, not wishing to push
things to extremity, which never was the policy of Rome, pretended to
be satisfied. But the Jesuits would not let him rest, and insisted on
the condemnation of the Jansenist opinions. The case was brought
before a great council of French bishops and doctors, and Arnauld, the
great champion of the Jansenists, was voted guilty of heresy for
denying that the five propositions which the pope condemned were
actually in the book of Jansen. The pope, moreover, was induced to
issue a formula of an oath, to which all who wished to enjoy any
office in the church were obliged to subscribe, and which affirmed
that the five condemned propositions were actually to be found in
Jansen's book. This act of the pope was justly regarded by the
Jansenists as intolerably despotic, and many of the most respectable
of the French clergy sided with them in opinion. All France now became
interested in the controversy, and it soon led to great commotions.
The Jansenists then contended that the pope might err in questions of
fact, and that, therefore, they were not under an obligation to
subscribe to the required oath. The Jesuits, on the other hand,
maintained the pope's infallibility in matters of fact, as well as in
doctrine; and, as they had the most powerful adherents, the Jansenists
were bitterly persecuted. But, as twenty-two bishops were found to
take their side, the matter was hushed up for a while. For ten years
more, the Port Royalists had peace and protection, chiefly through the
great influence of the Duchess of Longueville; but, on her death,
persecution returned. Arnauld was obliged to fly to the Netherlands,
and the beautiful abbey of Port Royal was despoiled of its lands and
privileges. Louis XIV. had ever hated its inmates, being ruled by
Madame de Maintenon, who, in turn, was a tool of the Jesuits.

But the demolition of the abbey, the spoliation of its lands, and the
dispersion of those who sought its retreat, did not stop the
controversy. Pascal continued it, and wrote his Provincial Letters,
which had a wonderful effect in making the Jesuits both ridiculous and
hateful. That book was the severest blow this body of ambitious and
artful casuists ever received.

[Sidenote: Principles of Jansenism.]

Nor was the Jansenist controversy merely a discussion of grace and
free will. The principles of Jansenism, when carried out, tended to
secure independence to the national church, and to free the
consciences of men from the horrible power of their spiritual
confessors. Jansenism was a timid protest against spiritual tyranny, a
mild kind of Puritanism, which found sympathy with many people in
France. The Parliament of Paris caught the spirit of freedom, and
protected the Jansenists and those who sympathized with them. It so
happened that a certain bishop published a charge to his clergy which
was strongly imbued with the independent doctrines of the Jansenists.
He was tried and condemned by a provincial council, and banished by
the government. The Parliament of Paris, as the guardian of the law,
took up the quarrel, and Cardinal Fleury was obliged to resort to a
_Bed of Justice_ in order to secure the registry of a decree. A Bed of
Justice was the personal appearance of the sovereign in the supreme
judicial tribunal of the nation, and his command to the members of it
to obey his injunctions was the last resort of absolute power. The
parliament, of course, obeyed, but protested the next day, and drew up
resolutions which declared the temporal power to be independent of the
spiritual. It then proceeded to Meudon, one of the royal palaces, to
lay its remonstrance before the king; and Louis XV., indignant and
astonished, refused to see the members. The original controversy was
forgotten, and the cause of the parliament, which was the cause of
liberty, became the cause of the nation. The resistance of the
parliament was technically unsuccessful, yet, nevertheless, sowed the
seeds of popular discontent, and contributed to that great
insurrection which finally overturned the throne.

[Sidenote: Functions of the Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The Bull Unigenitus.]

It may be asked how the Parliament of Paris became a judicial
tribunal, rather than a legislative assembly, as in England. When the
Justinian code was introduced into French jurisprudence, in the latter
part of the Middle Ages, the old feudal and clerical judges--the
barons and bishops--were incapable of expounding it, and a new class
of men arose--the lawyers, whose exclusive business it was to study
the laws. Being best acquainted with them, they entered upon the
functions of judges, and the secular and clerical lords yielded to
their opinions. The great barons, however, still continued to sit in
the judicial tribunals, although ignorant of the new jurisprudence;
and their decisions were directed by the opinions of the lawyers who
had obtained a seat in their body, as is the case at present in the
English House of Lords when it sits as a judicial body. The necessity
of providing some permanent repository for the royal edicts, induced
the kings of France to enroll them in the journals of the courts of
parliament, being the highest judicial tribunal; and the members of
these courts gradually availed themselves of this custom to dispute
the legality of any edict which had not been thus registered. As the
influence of the States General declined, the power of the parliament
increased. The encroachments of the papacy first engaged its
attention, and then the management of the finances by the ministers of
Francis I. called forth remonstrances. During the war of the Fronde,
the parliament absolutely refused to register the royal decrees. But
Louis XIV. was sufficiently powerful to suppress the spirit of
independence, and accordingly entered the court, during the first
years of his reign, with a whip in his hand, and compelled it to
register his edicts. Nor did any murmur afterwards escape the body,
until, at the close of his reign the members opposed the bull
_Unigenitus_--that which condemned the Jansenists--as an infringement
of the liberties of the Gallican Church. And no sooner had the great
monarch died, than, contrary to his will, they vested the regency in
the hands of the Duke of Orleans. Then freedom of expostulation
respecting the ruinous schemes of Law induced him to banish them, and
they only obtained their recall by degrading concessions. Their next
opposition was during the administration of Fleury. The minister of
finance made an attempt to inquire into the wealth of the clergy,
which raised the jealousy of the order; and the clergy, in order to
divert the attention of the court, revived the opposition of the
parliament to the bull _Unigenitus_. It was resolved by the clergy to
demand confessional notes from dying persons, and that these notes
should be signed by priests adhering to the bull, before extreme
unction should be given. The Archbishop of Paris, at the head of the
French clergy, was opposed by the parliament, and this high judicial
court imprisoned such of the clergy as refused to administer the
sacraments. The king, under the guidance of Fleury, forbade the
parliament to take cognizance of ecclesiastical proceedings, and to
suspend its prosecutions. Instead of acquiescing, the parliament
presented new remonstrances, and the members refused to attend to any
other functions, and resolved that they could not obey this injunction
without violating their consciences. They cited the Bishop of Orleans
before their tribunal, and ordered all his writings, which denied the
jurisdiction of the court, to be publicly burnt by the executioner. By
aid of the military, the parliament enforced the administration of the
sacraments, and became so interested in the controversy as to neglect
other official duties. The king, indignant, again banished the
members, with the exception of four, whom he imprisoned. And, in order
not to impede the administration of justice, the king established
another tribunal for the prosecution of civil suits. But the lawyers,
sympathizing with the parliament, refused to plead before the new
court. This resolute conduct, and other evils happening at the time,
induced the king to yield, in order to conciliate the people, and the
parliament was recalled. This was a popular triumph, and the
archbishop was banished in his turn. Shortly after, Cardinal Fleury
died, and a new policy was adopted. The quarrel of the parliament and
the clergy was forgotten in a still greater quarrel between the king
and the Jesuits.

The policy of Fleury, like that of Walpole, was pacific; and yet, like
him, he was forced into a war against his own convictions. And success
attended the arms of France, in the colonial struggle with England,
until Pitt took the helm of state.

Until the death of Fleury, in 1743, who administered affairs with
wisdom, moderation, and incorruptible integrity, he was beloved, if he
was not venerated. But after this event, a great change took place in
his character and measures, and the reign of mistresses commenced, and
to an extent unparalleled in the history of Europe. Louis XIV.
bestowed the revenue of the state on unworthy favorites, yet never
allowed them to govern the nation; but Louis XV. intrusted the most
important state matters to their direction, and the profoundest state
secrets to their keeping.

[Sidenote: Madame de Pompadour.]

Among these mistresses, Madame de Pompadour was the most noted; a
woman of talent, but abominably unprincipled. Ambition was her
master-passion, and her _boudoir_ was the council chamber of the royal
ministers. Most of the great men of France paid court to her, and to
neglect her was social ruin. Even Voltaire praised her beauty, and
Montesquieu flattered her intellect. And her extravagance was equal to
her audacity. She insisted on drawing bills on the treasury without
specifying the service. The comptroller-general was in despair, and
the state was involved in inextricable embarrassments.

It was through her influence that the Duke de Choiseul was made the
successor of Fleury. He was not deficient in talent, but his
administration proved unfortunate. Under his rule, Louis lost the
Canadas, and France plunged into a contest with Frederic the Great.
The Seven Years' War, which occurred during his administration, had
made the age an epoch; but as this is to be considered in the chapter
on Frederic III., no notice of it will be taken in this connection.

The most memorable event which arose out of the policy and conduct of
Choiseul was the fall of the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: The Jesuits.]

Their arts and influence had obtained from the pope the bull
_Unigenitus_, designed to suppress their enemies, the Jansenists; and
the king, governed by Fleury, had taken their side.

But they were so unwise as to quarrel with the powerful mistress of
Louis XV. They despised her, and defied her hatred. Indeed, the
Jesuits had climbed to so great a height that they were scornful of
popular clamor, and even of regal distrust. But there is no man, and
no body of men, who can venture to provoke enmity with impunity; and
destruction often comes from a source the least suspected, and
apparently the least to be feared. Who could have supposed that the
ruin of this powerful body, which had reigned so proudly in
Christendom for a century; which had imposed its Briareus's arms on
the necks of princes; which had its confessors in the courts of the
most absolute monarchs; which, with its hundred eyes, had penetrated
the secrets of all the cabinets of Europe; and which had succeeded in
suppressing in so many places every insurrection of human
intelligence, in spite of the fears of kings, the jealousy of the
other monastic orders, and the inveterate animosity of philosophers
and statesmen,--would receive a fatal wound from the hands of a woman,
who scandalized by her vices even the depraved court of an enervated
prince? But so it was. Madame de Pompadour hated the Jesuits because
they attempted to undermine her influence with the king. And she
incited the prime minister, whom she had raised by her arts to power,
to unite with Pombal in Portugal, in order to effect their ruin.

[Sidenote: Exposure of the Jesuits.]

In no country was the power of the Jesuits more irresistible than in
Portugal. There their ascendency was complete. But the prime minister
of Joseph I., the Marquis of Pombal, a man of great energy, had been
insulted by a lady of the highest rank, and he swore revenge. An
opportunity was soon afforded. The king happened to be fired at and
wounded in his palace by some unknown enemy. The blow was aimed at the
objects of the minister's vengeance--the Marchioness of Tavora, her
husband, her family, and her friends the Jesuits. And royal vengeance
followed, not merely on an illustrious family, but on those persons
whom this family befriended. The Jesuits were expelled in the most
summary manner from the kingdom. The Duke de Choiseul and Madame
Pompadour hailed their misfortunes with delight, and watched their
opportunity for revenge. This was afforded by the failure of La
Valette, the head of the Jesuits at Martinique. It must be borne in
mind that the Jesuits had embarked in commercial enterprises, while
they were officiating as missionaries. La Valette aimed to monopolize,
for his order, the trade with the West Indies, which commercial
ambition excited the jealousy of mercantile classes in France, and
they threw difficulties in his way. And it so happened that some of
his most valuable ships were taken and plundered by the English
cruisers, which calamity, happening at a time of embarrassment, caused
his bills to be protested, and his bankers to stop payment. They,
indignant, accused the Jesuits, as a body, of peculation and fraud,
and demanded repayment from the order. Had the Jesuits been wise, they
would have satisfied the ruined bankers. But who is wise on the brink
of destruction? _"Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat."_ The
Jesuits refused to sacrifice La Valette to the interests of their
order, which course would have been in accordance with their general
policy. The matter was carried before the Parliament of Paris, and the
whole nation was interested in its result. It was decided by this
supreme judicial tribunal, that the Jesuits were responsible for the
debts of La Valette. But the commercial injury was weak in comparison
with the moral. In the course of legal proceedings, the books and rule
of the Jesuits were demanded--that mysterious rule which had never
been exposed to the public eye, and which had been so carefully
guarded. When this rule was produced, all minor questions vanished;
mistresses, bankruptcies, politics, finances, wars,--all became
insignificant, compared with those questions which affected the
position and welfare of the society. Pascal became a popular idol, and
"Tartuffe grew pale before Escobar." The reports of the trial lay on
every toilet table, and persons of both sexes, and of all ages and
conditions, read with avidity the writings of the casuists. Nothing
was talked about but "probability," "surrender of conscience," and
"mental reservations." Philosophers grew jealous of the absorbing
interest with which every thing pertaining to the _régime_ of the
Jesuits was read, and of the growing popularity of the Jansenists, who
had exposed it. "What," said Voltaire, "will it profit us to be
delivered from the foxes, if we are to be given up to the wolves?" But
the philosopher had been among the first to raise the cry of alarm
against the Jesuits, and it was no easy thing to allay the storm.

[Sidenote: Their Expulsion from France.]

The Jesuits, in their distress, had only one friend sufficiently
powerful to protect them, and he was the king. He had been their best
friend, and he still wished to come to their rescue. He had been
taught to honor them, and he had learned to fear them. He stood in
fear of assassination, and dreaded a rupture with so powerful and
unscrupulous a body. And his resistance to the prosecution would have
been insurmountable, had it not been for the capriciousness of his
temper, which more than balanced his superstitious fears. His minister
and his mistress circumvented him. They represented that, as the
parliament and the nation were both aroused against the Jesuits, his
resistance would necessarily provoke a new Fronde. Nothing he dreaded
so much as civil war. The wavering monarch, placed in the painful
necessity of choosing, as he supposed, between a war and the ruin of
his best friends, yielded to the solicitations of his artful advisers.
But he yielded with a moderation which did him honor. He would not
consent to the expulsion of the Jesuits until efforts had been made to
secure their reform. He accordingly caused letters to be written to
Rome, demanding an immediate attention to the subject. Choiseul
himself prepared the scheme of reformation. But the Jesuits would not
hear of any retrenchment of their power or privileges. "Let us remain
as we are, or let us exist no longer," was their reply. The
parliament, the people, the minister, and the mistress renewed their
clamors. The parliament decreed that the constitution of the society
was an encroachment on the royal authority, and the king was obliged
to yield. The members of the society were forbidden to wear the habit
of the society, or to enjoy any clerical office or dignity. Their
colleges were closed, their order was dissolved, and they were
expelled from the kingdom with rigor and severity, in spite of the
wishes of the king and many entreaties and tears from the zealous
advocates of Catholicism, and even of religious education.

[Sidenote: Suppression in Spain.]

But the Jesuits were too powerful, even in their misfortunes, to be
persecuted without the effort to annihilate them. Having secured their
expulsion from France and Portugal, Choiseul and Pombal turned their
attention to Spain, and so successfully intrigued, so artfully wrought
on the jealousy and fears of Charles III., that this weak prince
followed the example of Joseph I. and Louis XV. But the king and his
minister D'Aranda, however, prosecuted their investigations with the
utmost secrecy--did not even tell their allies of their movements. Of
course, the Jesuits feared nothing from the king of Spain. But when
his measures were completed, an edict was suddenly declared, decreeing
the suppression of the order in the land of Inquisitions. The decree
came like a thunderbolt, but was instantly executed. "On the same day,
2d April, 1767, and at the same hour, in Spain, in Africa, in Asia, in
America, and in all the islands belonging to the Spanish monarchy, the
alcaldes of the towns opened their despatches from Madrid, by which
they were ordered, on pain of the severest penalties, immediately to
enter the establishments of the Jesuits, to seize their persons, expel
them from their convents, and transport them, within twenty-four
hours, to such places as were designated. Nor were the Jesuits
permitted to carry away their money or their papers. Only a purse, a
breviary, and some apparel were given them."

The government feared a popular insurrection from an excitement so
sudden, and a persecution so dreadful, and therefore issued express
prohibition to all the ecclesiastical authorities to prevent any
allusion to the event from the pulpit. All classes were required to
maintain absolute silence, and any controversy, or criticism, or
remark was regarded as high treason. Such is despotism. Such is
religious persecution, when fear, as well as hatred, prompts to
injustice and cruelty.

The Jesuits, in their misfortunes, managed with consummate craft.
Their policy was to appear in the light of victims of persecution.
There was to them no medium between reigning as despots or dying as
martyrs. Mediocrity would have degraded them. Ricci, the general of
the order, would not permit them to land in Italy, to which country
they were sent by the king of Spain. Six thousand priests, in misery
and poverty, were sent adrift upon the Mediterranean, and after six
months of vicissitude, suffering, and despair, they found a miserable
refuge on the Island of Corsica.

[Sidenote: Pope Clement XIV.]

Soon after, the pope, their most powerful protector, died. A
successor was to be appointed. But France, Spain, and Portugal, bent
on the complete suppression of the Jesuits, resolved that no pope
should be elected who would not favor their end. A cardinal was
found,--Ganganelli,--who promised the ambassadors that, if elected
pope, he would abolish the order. They, accordingly, intrigued to
secure his election. The Jesuits, also, strained every nerve, and put
forth marvellous talent and art, to secure a pope who would _protect
them_. But the ambassadors of the allied powers overreached even the
Jesuits. Ganganelli was the plainest, and, apparently, the most
unambitious of men. His father had been a peasant; but, by the force
of talent and learning, he had arisen, from the condition of his
father, to be a Roman cardinal. Under the garb of a saint, he aspired
to the tiara. There was only one condition of success; and that was,
to destroy the best supporters of that fearful absolutism which had so
long enslaved the world. The sacrifice was tremendous; but it was
made, and he became a pope. Then commenced in his soul the awful
struggle. Should he fulfil his pledge, and jeopardize his cause and
throne, and be branded, by the zealots of his church, with eternal
infamy? or should he break his word, and array against himself, with
awful enmity, the great monarchs of Europe, and perhaps lose the
allegiance of their subjects to him as the supreme head of the
Catholic Church? The decision was the hardest which mortal man had
ever been required to make. Whatever course he pursued was full of
danger and disgrace. Poor Ganganelli! he had better remained a
cowherd, a simple priest, a bishop, a cardinal,--any thing,--rather
than to have been made a pope! But such was his ambition, and he was
obliged to reap its penalty. Long did the afflicted pontiff delay to
fulfil his pledge; long did he practise all the arts of dissimulation,
of which he was such a master. He delayed, he flattered, he entreated,
he coaxed. But the monarchs called peremptorily for the fulfilment of
his pledge, and all Europe now understood the nature of the contest.
It was between the Jesuits and the monarchs of Europe. Ganganelli was
compelled to give his decision. His health declined, his spirits
forsook him, his natural gayety fled. He courted solitude, he wept, he
prayed. But he must, nevertheless, decide. The Jesuits threatened
assassination, and exposed, with bitter eloquence, the ruin of his
church, if he yielded her privileges to kings. And kings threatened
secession from Rome, deposition--ten thousand calamities. His agony
became insupportable; but delay was no longer possible. He decided to
suppress the order of the Jesuits; and sixty-nine colleges were
closed, their missions were broken up, their churches were given to
their rivals, and twenty-two thousand priests were left without
organization, wealth, or power.

[Sidenote: Death of Ganganelli.]

Their revenge was not an idle threat. One day, the pope, on arising
from table, felt an internal shock, followed by great cold. Gradually
he lost his voice and strength. His blood became corrupted; and his
moral system gave way with the physical. He knew that he was
doomed--that he was poisoned--that he must die. The fear of hell was
now added to his other torments. "_Compulsus, feci, compulsus,
feci!_"--"O, mercy, mercy, I have been compelled!" he cried, and
died--died by that slow but sure poison, such as old Alexander VI.
knew so well how to administer to his victims when he sought their
wealth. Pope Clement XIV. inflicted, it was supposed, a mortal wound
upon his church and upon her best friends. He, indeed, reaped the
penalty of ambition; but the cause which he represented did not
perish, nor will it lose vitality so long as the principle of evil on
earth is destined to contend with the principle of good. On the
restoration of the Bourbons, the order of the Jesuits was restored;
and their flaming sword, with its double edge, was again felt in every
corner of the world.

[Sidenote: Death of Louis XV.]

The Jesuits, on their expulsion, found shelter in Prussia, and
protection from the royal infidel who had been the friend of Voltaire.
A schism between the crowned heads of Europe and infidel philosophers
had taken place. Frederic, who had sympathized with their bitter
mockery, at last perceived the tendency of their writings; that men
who assailed obedience to divine laws would not long respect the
institutions and governments which mankind had recognized. He
perceived, too, the natural union of absolutism in the church with
absolutism in the state, and came to the rescue of the great,
unchanged, unchangeable, and ever-consistent advocates of despotism.
The frivolous Choiseul, the extravagant Pompadour, and the debauched
Sardanapalus of his age, did not perceive the truth which the King of
Prussia recognized in his latter days. Nor would it have availed any
thing, if they had been gifted with the clear insight of Frederic the
Great. The stream, on whose curious banks the great and the noble of
France had been amusing themselves, soon swelled into an overwhelming
torrent. That devastating torrent was the French Revolution, whose
awful swell was first perceived during the latter years of Louis XV.
He himself caught glimpses of the future; but, with the egotism of a
Bourbon, he remarked "that the throne would last during his time."
Soon after this heartless speech was made, he was stricken with the
small-pox, and died 1774, after a long and inglorious reign. He was
deserted in his last hours, and his disgusting and loathsome remains
were huddled into their last abode by the workmen of his palace.

Before the reign of Louis XVI. can be described, it is necessary to
glance at the career of Frederic the Great, and the condition of the
various European states, at a period contemporary with the Seven
Years' War--the great war of the eighteenth century, before the
breaking out of the French Revolution.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--For a general view of the reign of Louis XV.,
     see the histories of Lacretelle, Voltaire, and Crowe. The
     scheme of Law is best explained in Smyth's Lectures, and
     Anderson's History of Commerce. The struggles between the
     king and the Parliament of Paris are tolerably described in
     the History of Adolphus. For a view of the Jansenist
     Controversy, see Du Pin's Ecclesiastical History, Ranke's
     History of the Popes, Pascal's Provincial Letters, and
     Stephens's article in the Edinburgh Review, on the Port
     Royalists. The fall of the Jesuits has been admirably
     treated by Quinet. James has written a good sketch of the
     lives of Fleury and Choiseul. For the manners of the court
     of Louis XV., the numerous memoirs and letters, which were
     written during the period, must be consulted; the most
     amusing of which, and, in a certain sense, instructive, are
     too infamous to be named.



[Sidenote: Frederic William.]

Frederic II. of Prussia has won a name which will be immortal on
Moloch's catalogue of military heroes. His singular character extorts
our admiration, while it calls forth our aversion, admiration for his
great abilities, sagacity, and self-reliance, and disgust for his
cruelties, his malice, his suspicions, and his tricks. He had no faith
in virtue or disinterestedness, and trusted only to mechanical
agencies--to the power of armies--to the principle of fear. He was not
indifferent to literature, or the improvement of his nation; but war
was alike his absorbing passion and his highest glory. Peter the Great
was half a barbarian, and Charles XII. half a madman; but Frederic was
neither barbarous in his tastes, nor wild in his schemes. Louis XIV.
plunged his nation in war from puerile egotism, and William III.
fought for the great cause of religious and civil liberty; but
Frederic, from the excitement which war produced, and the restless
ambition of plundering what was not his own.

He was born in the royal palace of Berlin, in 1712--ten years after
Prussia had become a kingdom, and in the lifetime of his grandfather,
Frederic I. The fortunes of his family were made by his
great-grandfather, called the _Great Elector_, of the house of
Hohenzollern. He could not make Brandenburg a fertile province; so he
turned it into a military state. He was wise, benignant, and
universally beloved. But few of his amiable qualities were inherited
by his great-grandson. Frederic II. resembled more his whimsical and
tyrannical father, Frederic William, who beat his children without a
cause, and sent his subjects to prison from mere caprice. When his
ambassador, in London, was allowed only one thousand pounds a year, he
gave a bounty of thirteen hundred pounds to a tall Irishman, to join
his famous body-guard, a regiment of men who were each over six feet
high. He would kick women in the streets, abuse clergymen for looking
on the soldiers, and insult his son's tutor for teaching him Latin.
But, abating his coarseness, his brutality, and his cruelty, he was a
Christian, after a certain model. He had respect for the institutions
of religion, denounced all amusements as sinful, and read a sermon
aloud, every afternoon, to his family. His son perceived his
inconsistencies, and grew up an infidel. There was no sympathy between
father and son, and the father even hated the heir of his house and
throne. The young prince was kept on bread and water; his most
moderate wishes were disregarded; he was surrounded with spies; he was
cruelly beaten and imprisoned, and abused as a monster and a heathen.
The cruel treatment which the prince received induced him to fly; his
flight was discovered; he was brought back to Berlin, condemned to
death as a deserter and only saved from the fate of a malefactor by
the intercession of half of the crowned heads of Europe. A hollow
reconciliation was effected; and the prince was permitted, at last, to
retire to one of the royal palaces, where he amused himself with
books, billiards, balls, and banquets. He opened a correspondence with
Voltaire, and became an ardent admirer of his opinions.

[Sidenote: Accession of Frederic the Great.]

In 1740, the old king died, and Frederic II. mounted an absolute
throne. He found a well filled treasury, and a splendidly disciplined
army. His customary pleasures were abandoned, and dreams of glory
filled his ambitious soul.

Scarcely was he seated on his throne before military aggrandizement
became the animating principle of his life.

His first war was the conquest of Silesia, one of the richest
provinces of the Austrian empire. It belonged to Maria Theresa, Queen
of Hungary and Bohemia, daughter of the late emperor of Germany, whose
succession was guaranteed by virtue of the Pragmatic Sanction--a law
which the Emperor Charles passed respecting his daughter's claim, and
which claim was recognized by the old king of Prussia, and ratified by
all the leading powers of Europe. Without a declaration of war,
without complaints, without a cause, scarcely without a pretext, from
the mere lust of dominion, Frederic commenced hostilities, in the
depth of winter, when invasion was unexpected, and when the garrisons
were defenceless. Without a battle, one of the oldest provinces of
Austria was seized, and the royal robber returned in triumph to his

Such an outrage and crime astonished and alarmed the whole civilized
world, and Europe armed itself to revenge and assist the unfortunate
queen, whose empire was threatened with complete dismemberment.
Frederic was alarmed, and a hollow peace was made. But, in two years,
the war again broke out. To recover Silesia and to humble Frederic was
the aim of Maria Theresa. She succeeded in securing the coöperation of
Russia, France, Sweden, and Saxony. No one doubted of the ruin of the
house of Brandenburg. Six hundred thousand men were arrayed to crush
an upstart monarchy, and an unprincipled king, who had trampled on all
the laws of nations and all the principles of justice.

[Sidenote: The Seven Years' War.]

The resistance of Frederic to these immense forces constitutes the
celebrated _Seven Years' War_--the most gigantic war which Europe had
seen, from the Reformation to the French Revolution. This contest
began during the latter years of George II., and was connected with
the colonial wars of Great Britain and France, during which Wolfe was
killed and the Canadas were gained. This war called out all the
energies of the elder Pitt, and placed Great Britain on the exalted
height which it has since retained.

Frederic was not so blinded as not to perceive the extent of his
dangers; and his successful resistance to the armies which his own
offensive war had raised up against him, has given him his claims to
the epithet of _Great_. Although he provoked the war, his successful
defence of his country placed him on the very highest pinnacle of
military fame. He would gladly have been relieved from the contest,
but it was inevitable; and when the tempest burst upon his head, he
showed all the qualities of exalted heroism.

Great and overwhelming odds were arrayed against him. But he himself
had some great advantages. He was absolute master of his army, of his
treasury, and of his territories. The lives and property of his
subjects were at his disposal; his subjects were brave and loyal; he
was popular with the people, and was sustained by the enthusiasm of
the nation; his army was well disciplined; he had no sea-coast to
defend, and he could concentrate all his forces upon any point he
pleased, in a short time.

His only hope was in energetic measures. He therefore invaded Saxony,
at once, with sixty thousand men. His aim was to seize the state
papers at Dresden, which contained the proofs of the confederation.
These were found and published, which showed that now, at least, he
acted on the defensive.

The campaign of 1756 commenced, and the first great battle was won by
the Prussians. By the victory of Lowositz, Frederic was in a better
condition to contend with Austria. By this he got possession of

The campaign of 1757 was commenced under great solicitude. Five
hundred thousand men were arrayed against two hundred thousand. Near
Prague, Frederic obtained a victory, but lost twelve thousand men. He
then invested Prague. General Daun, with a superior army, advanced to
its relief. Another bloody battle was fought, and lost by the Prussian
king. This seemed to be a fatal stroke. At the outset, as it were, of
the war, he had received a check. The soldiers' confidence was
weakened. Malevolent sarcasm pointed out mistakes. The siege of Prague
was raised, and Bohemia was abandoned. A French army, at the same
time, invaded Germany; and Frederic heard also of the death of his
mother--the only person whom he loved. His spirits fell, and he became
haggard and miserable.

The only thing for him to do now was, to protect Saxony, and secure
that conquest--no very easy task. His dominions were now assailed by a
French, a Swedish, and a Russian army. His capital was in the hands of
the Croatians, and he was opposed by superior Austrian forces. No
wonder that he was oppressed with melancholy, and saw only the ruin of
his house. On one thing, however, he was resolved--never to be taken
alive. So he provided himself with poison, which he ever carried about
his person.

The heroic career of Frederic dates from this hour of misfortune and
trial. Indeed, the heroism of all great men commences in perplexity,
difficulty, and danger. Success is glorious; but success is obtained
only through struggle. Frederic's career is a splendid example of that
heroism which rises above danger, and extricates a man from
difficulties when his cause is desperate.

[Sidenote: Battle of Rossbach.]

The King of Prussia first marched against the French. The two armies
met at Rossbach. The number of the French was double that of the
Prussians; but the Prussians were better disciplined, and were
commanded by an abler general. The French, however felt secure of
victory; but they were defeated: seven thousand men were taken
prisoners, together with their guns, ammunition, parrots, hair powder,
and pomatum. The victory of Rossbach won for Frederic a great name,
and diffused universal joy among the English and Prussians.

[Sidenote: Battle of Leuthen.]

After a brief rest, he turned his face towards Silesia, which had
again fallen into the hands of the Austrians. It was for this province
that he provoked the hostilities of Europe; and pride, as well as
interest, induced him to bend all his energies to regain it. Prince
Charles of Lorraine commanded the forces of Maria Theresa, which
numbered eighty thousand men. Frederic could only array against him an
army of thirty thousand. And yet, in spite of the disparity of forces,
and his desperate condition, he resolved to attack the enemy. His
generals remonstrated; but the hero gave full permission to all to
retire, if they pleased. None were found to shun the danger. Frederic,
like Napoleon, had the talent of exciting the enthusiasm of his
troops. He both encouraged and threatened them. He declared that any
cavalry regiment which did not, on being ordered, burst impetuously on
the foe, should after the battle, be dismounted, and converted into a
garrison regiment. But he had no reason to complain. On the 5th of
December, the day of the ever-memorable battle of Leuthen, he selected
an officer with fifty men as his body-guard. "I shall," said he,
"expose myself much to-day; you are not to leave me for an instant: if
I fall, cover me quickly with a mantle, place me in a wagon and tell
the fact to no one. The battle cannot be avoided, and must be won."
And he obtained a glorious victory. The Austrian general abandoned a
strong position, because he deemed it beneath his dignity to contend
with an inferior force in a fortified camp. His imprudence lost him
the battle. According to Napoleon, it was a masterpiece on the part of
the victor, and placed him in the first rank of generals. Twenty
thousand Austrians were either killed or taken. Breslau opened its
gates to the Prussians, and Silesia was reconquered. The king's fame
filled the world. Pictures of him were hung in almost every house. The
enthusiasm of Germany was not surpassed by that of England. London was
illuminated; the gay scions of aristocracy proposed to the Prussian
king to leave their country and join his army; an annual subsidy of
seven hundred thousand pounds was granted by government. The battle of
Leuthen was the most brilliant in Prussian annals; out the battle of
Rossbach, over the French, was attended by greater moral results. It
showed, for the first time for several centuries, that the Germans
were really a great people, and were a match for the French, hitherto
deemed invincible.

Early in the spring of 1758, Frederic was ready for a new campaign,
which was soon signalized by a great victory over the Russians, at
Zorndorff. It was as brilliant and decisive as the battles of Rossbach
and Leuthen. A force of thirty-two thousand men defeated an army of
fifty-two thousand. Twenty-two thousand Russians lay dead on the
field. This victory placed Frederic at the zenith of military fame. In
less than a year, he had defeated three great armies; in less than a
year, and when nearly driven to despair,--when his cause seemed
hopeless, and his enemies were rejoicing in their strength,--he
successively triumphed over the French, the Austrians, and the
Russians; the three most powerful nations on the continent of Europe.
And his moderation after victory was as marked as his self-reliance
after defeat. At this period, he stood out, to the wondering and
admiring eyes of the world, as the greatest hero and general of modern
times. But, after this, his career was more checkered, and he was
still in danger of being overwhelmed by his powerful enemies.

[Sidenote: Fall of Dresden.]

The remainder of the campaign of 1758 was spent in driving the
Austrians from Silesia, and in capturing Dresden. No capital in Europe
has suffered more in war than this elegant and polished city. It has
been often besieged and taken, but the victors have always spared its
famous picture gallery--the finest collection of the works of the old
masters, probably, in existence.

But Frederic was now assailed by a new enemy, Pope Benedict XIV. He
sent a consecrated sword, a hat of crimson velvet, and a dove of
pearls,--"the mystic symbol of the divine Comforter,"--to Marshal
Daun, the ablest of the Austrian generals, and the conqueror at Kolin
and Hochkirchen. It was the rarest of the papal gifts, and had been
only bestowed, in the course of six centuries, on Godfrey of Bouillon,
by Urban II., when he took Jerusalem; on Alva, after his massacres in
Holland; and on Sobieski, after his deliverance of Vienna, when
besieged by the Turks. It had never been conferred, except for the
defence of the "Holy Catholic Church." But this greatest of papal
gifts made no impression on the age which read Montesquieu and
Voltaire. A flood of satirical pamphlets inundated Christendom, and
the world laughed at the impotent weapons which had once been
thunderbolts in the hands of Hildebrand or Innocent III.

[Sidenote: Reverses of Frederic.]

The fourth year of the war proved disastrous to Frederic. He did not
lose military reputation, but he lost his cities and armies. The
forces of his enemies were nearly overwhelming. The Austrians invaded
Saxony, and menaced Silesia, while the Russians gained a victory over
the Prussians at Kunersdorf, and killed eighteen thousand men. The
Russians did not improve this great victory over Frederic, which
nearly drove him to despair. But he rallied, and was again defeated in
three disastrous battles. In his distress, he fed his troops on
potatoes and rye bread, took from the peasant his last horse, debased
his coin, and left his civil functionaries unpaid.

The campaign of 1760 was, at first, unfavorable to the Prussians.
Frederic had only ninety thousand men, and his enemies had two hundred
thousand, in the field. He was therefore obliged to maintain the
defensive. But still disasters thickened. General Loudon obtained a
great victory over his general, Fouqué, in Silesia. Instead of being
discouraged by this new defeat, he formed the extraordinary resolution
of wresting Dresden from the hands of the Austrians. But he pretended
to retreat from Saxony, and advance to Silesia. General Daun was
deceived, and decoyed from Saxony in pursuit of him. As soon as
Frederic had retired a considerable distance from Dresden, he
returned, and bombarded it. But he did not succeed in taking it, and
was forced to retreat to Silesia. It was there his good fortune to
gain a victory over the Austrians, and prevent their junction with the
Russians. At Torgau, he again defeated an army of sixty-four thousand
of the enemy, with a force of only forty-four thousand. This closed
the campaign, and the position of the parties was nearly the same as
at the commencement of it. The heart of Frederic was now ulcerated
with bitterness in view of the perseverance of his enemies, who were
resolved to crush him. He should, however, have remembered that he had
provoked their implacable resentment, by the commission of a great

Although Frederic, by rare heroism, had maintained his ground, still
his resources were now nearly exhausted, and he began to look around,
in vain, for a new supply of men, horses, and provisions. The circle
which his enemies had drawn around him was obviously becoming smaller.
In a little while, to all appearance, he would be crushed by
overwhelming forces.

[Sidenote: Continued Disasters.]

Under these circumstances, the campaign in 1761 was opened; but no
event of importance occurred until nearly the close of the year. On
the whole, it was disastrous to Prussia. Half of Silesia was taken by
the Austrians, and the Russian generals were successful in Pomerania.
And a still greater misfortune happened to Frederic in consequence of
the resignation of Pitt, who had ever been his firmest ally, and had
granted him large subsidies, when he was most in need of them. On the
retirement of the English minister, these subsidies were withdrawn,
and the party which had thwarted William III., which had persecuted
Marlborough, and had given up the Catalans, came into power--the
Tories. "It was indifferent to them whether the house of Hohenstaufen
or Hohenzollern should be dominant in Germany." But Pitt and the Whigs
argued that no sacrifice would be too great to preserve the balance of
power. The defection of England, however, filled the mind of Frederic
with implacable hatred, and he never could bear to hear even the name
of England mentioned. The defection of this great ally made his
affairs desperate; and no one, taking a dispassionate view of the
contending parties, could doubt but that the ruin of the Prussian king
was inevitable. Maria Theresa was so confident of success, that she
disbanded twenty thousand of her troops.

But Providence had ordered otherwise. A great and unexpected change
came over the fortunes of Frederic. His heroism was now to be
rewarded--not the vulgar heroism which makes a sudden effort, and
gains a single battle, but that well-sustained heroism which strives
in the midst of defeat, and continues to hope when even noble hearts
are sinking in despair. On the 5th of January, 1762, Elizabeth, the
empress of Russia, died; and her successor, Peter III., who was an
admirer of Frederic, and even a personal friend, returned the Prussian
prisoners, withdrew his troops from the Prussian territories, dressed
himself in a Prussian uniform, and wore the black eagle of Prussia on
his breast. He even sent fifteen thousand troops to reënforce the army
of Frederic.

England and France had long been wearied of this war, and formed a
separate treaty for themselves. Prussia and Austria were therefore
left to combat each other. If Austria, assisted by France and Russia,
could not regain Silesia and ruin Prussia, it certainly was not strong
enough to conquer Frederic single-handed. The proud Maria Theresa was
compelled to make peace with that heroic but unprincipled robber, who
had seized one of the finest provinces of the Austrian empire. In
February, the treaty of Hubertsburg was signed, by which Frederic
retained his spoil. He, in comparison with the other belligerent
parties was the gainer. But no acquisition of territory could
compensate for those seven years of toil, expense, and death. After
six years, he entered his capital in triumph; but he beheld every
where the melancholy marks of devastation and suffering. The fields
were untilled, houses had been sacked, population had declined, and
famine and disease had spread a funereal shade over the dwellings of
the poor. He had escaped death, but one sixth of the whole male
population of Prussia had been killed, and untold millions of property
had been destroyed. In some districts, no laborers but women were seen
in the fields, and fifteen thousand houses had been burnt in his own

[Sidenote: Exhaustion of Prussia by the War.]

It is very remarkable that no national debt was incurred by the king
of Prussia, in spite of all his necessities. He always, in the worst
of times, had a year's revenue in advance; and, at the close of the
war, to show the world that he was not then impoverished, he built a
splendid palace at Potsdam, which nearly equalled the magnificence of

But he also did all in his power to alleviate the distress which his
wars had caused. Silesia received three millions of thalers, and
Pomerania two millions. Fourteen thousand houses were rebuilt;
treasury notes, which had depreciated, were redeemed; officers who had
distinguished themselves were rewarded; and the widows and children of
those who had fallen were pensioned.

The possession of Silesia did not, indeed, compensate for the Seven
Years' War; but the struggles which the brave Prussians made for their
national independence, when assailed on all sides by powerful enemies,
were not made in vain. Had they not been made, worse evils would have
happened. Prussia would not have held her place in the scale of
nations, and the people would have fallen in self-respect. It was
wrong in Frederic to seize the possession of another. In so doing, he
was in no respect better than a robber: and he paid a penalty for his
crime. But he also fought in self-defence. This defence was honorable
and glorious, and this entitles him to the name of _Great_.

After the peace of Hubertsburg, in 1763, Prussia, for a time, enjoyed
repose, and the king devoted himself to the improvement of his
country. But the army received his greatest consideration, and a peace
establishment of one hundred and sixty thousand men was maintained; an
immense force for so small a kingdom, but deemed necessary in such
unsettled times. Frederic amused himself in building palaces, in
writing books, and corresponding with literary friends. But schemes of
ambition were, after all, paramount in his mind.

The Seven Years' War had scarcely closed before the partition of
Poland was effected, the greatest political crime of that age, for
which the king of Prussia was chiefly responsible.

The Bavarian war was the next great political event of importance
which occurred during the reign of Frederic. The emperor of Germany
formed a project for the dismemberment of the electorate of Bavaria.
The liberties of the Germanic body were in danger, and Frederic came
to the rescue. On this occasion, he was the opposer of lawless
ambition. In 1778, he took the field with a powerful army; but no
action ensued. The Austrian court found it expedient to abandon the
design, and the peace of Teschen prevented another fearful contest.
The two last public acts of Frederic were the establishment, in 1785,
of the Germanic Union for preserving the constitution of the empire,
and a treaty of amity and commerce, in 1786, with the United States of
America, which was a model of liberal policy respecting the rights of
independent nations, both in peace and war.

[Sidenote: Death of Frederic.]

He died on the 17th of August, 1786, in the seventy-fifth year of his
age, and the forty-seventh of his reign. On the whole, he was one of
the most remarkable men of his age, and had a great influence on the
condition of his country.

His distinguishing peculiarity was his admiration of, and devotion to,
the military profession, which he unduly exalted. An ensign in his
army ranked higher than a counsellor of legation or a professor of
philosophy. His ordinary mode of life was simple and unostentatious,
and his favorite residence was the palace of Sans Souci, at Potsdam.
He was very fond of music, and of the society of literary men; but he
mortified them by his patronizing arrogance, and worried them by his
practical jokes. His favorite literary companions were infidel
philosophers, and Voltaire received from him marks of the highest
distinction. But the king of letters could not live with the despot
who solicited his society, and an implacable hatred succeeded
familiarity and friendship. The king had considerable literary
reputation, and was the author of several works. He was much admired
by his soldiers, and permitted in them uncommon familiarity. He was
ever free from repulsive formality and bolstered dignity. He was
industrious, frugal, and vigilant. Nothing escaped his eye, and he
attended to the details of his administration. He was probably the
most indefatigable sovereign that ever existed, but displayed more
personal ability than enlarged wisdom.

[Sidenote: Character of Frederic.]

But able and successful as he was as a ruler, he was one of those men
for whom it is impossible to entertain a profound respect. He was
cruel, selfish, and parsimonious. He was prodigal of the blood of his
subjects, and ungenerous in his treatment of those who had sacrificed
every thing for his sake. He ruled by fear rather than by love. He
introduced into every department the precision of a rigid military
discipline, and had no faith in any power but that of mechanical
agencies. He quarrelled with his best friends, and seemed to enjoy the
miseries he inflicted. He was contemptuous of woman, and disdainful of
Christianity. His egotism was not redeemed by politeness or
affability, and he made no efforts to disguise his unmitigated
selfishness and heartless injustice. He had no loftiness of character,
and no appreciation of elevation of sentiment in others. He worshipped
only himself and rewarded those only who advanced his ambitious

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--The Posthumous Works of Frederic II. Gillies's
     View of the Reign of Frederic II. Thiebault's Mémoires de
     Frédéric le Grand. Voltaire's Idée du Roi de Prusse. Life of
     Baron Trenck. Macaulay's Essay on the Life and Times of
     Frederic the Great. Coxe's House of Austria. Tower's,
     Johnson's, and Campbell's Life of Frederic the Great.



Contemporaneous with Frederic the Great were Maria Theresa and
Catharine II.--two sovereigns who claim an especial notice, as
representing two mighty empires. The part which Maria Theresa took in
the Seven Years' War has been often alluded to and it is not necessary
to recapitulate the causes or events of that war. She and
Catharine II. were also implicated with Frederic in the partition of
Poland. The misfortunes of that unhappy country will be separately
considered. In alluding to Maria Theresa, we cannot but review the
history of that great empire over which she ruled, the most powerful
of the German states. The power of Austria, at different times since
the death of the Emperor Charles V., threatened the liberties of
Europe; and, to prevent her ascendency, the kings of France, England,
and Prussia have expended the treasure and wasted the blood of their

[Sidenote: The Germanic Constitution.]

By the peace of Westphalia, in 1648, at the close of the Thirty Years'
War, the constitution of Germany was established upon a firm basis.
The religious differences between the Catholics and the Protestants
were settled, and religious toleration secured in all the states of
the empire. It was settled that no decree of the Diet was to pass
without a majority of suffrages, and that the Imperial Chamber and the
Aulic Council should be composed of a due proportion of Catholics and
Protestants. The former was instituted by the Emperor Maximilian I.,
in 1495, at the Diet of Worms, and was a judicial tribunal, and the
highest court of appeal. It consisted of seventeen judges nominated by
the emperor, and took cognizance of Austrian affairs chiefly. The
Aulic Council was also judicial, and was composed of eighteen persons
and attended chiefly to business connected with the empire. The
members of these two great judicial tribunals were Catholics; and
there were also frequent disputes between them as to their respective
jurisdictions. It was ordained by the treaty of Westphalia that a
perfect equality should be observed in the appointment of the members
of these two important courts; but, in fact, twenty-four Protestants
and twenty-six Catholics were appointed to the Imperial Chamber. The
various states had the right of presenting members, according to
political importance. The Aulic Council was composed of six
Protestants and twelve Catholics, and was a tribunal to settle
difficulties between the various states of which Germany was composed.

These states were nearly independent of each other, but united under
one common head. Each state had its own peculiar government, which was
generally monarchical, and regulated its own coinage, police, and
administration of justice. Each kingdom, electorate, principality, and
imperial city, which were included in the states of Germany, had the
right to make war, form alliances, conclude peace, and send
ambassadors to foreign courts.

The Diet of the empire consisted of representatives of each of the
states, appointed by the princes themselves, and took cognizance of
matters of common interest, such as regulations respecting commerce,
the license of books, and the military force which each state was
required to furnish.

The emperor had power, in some respects, over all these states; but it
was chiefly confined to his hereditary dominions. He could not
exercise any despotic control over the various princes of the empire;
but, as hereditary sovereign of Austria, Styria, Moravia, Bohemia,
Hungary, and the Tyrol, he was the most powerful prince in Europe
until the aggrandisement of Louis XIV.

Ferdinand III. was emperor of Germany at the peace of Westphalia; but
he did not long survive it. He died in 1657, and his son Leopold
succeeded him as sovereign of all the Austrian dominions. He had not
completed his eighteenth year, but nevertheless was, five months
after, elected Emperor of Germany by the Electoral Diet.

Great events occurred during the reign of Leopold I.--the Turkish war,
the invasion of the Netherlands by Louis XIV., the heroic struggles of
the Prince of Orange, the French invasion of the Palatinate, the
accession of a Bourbon prince to the throne of Spain, the discontents
of Hungary, and the victories of Marlborough and Eugene. Most of these
have been already alluded to, especially in the chapter on Louis XIV.,
and, therefore, will not be further discussed.

[Sidenote: The Hungarian War.]

The most important event connected with Austrian affairs, as distinct
from those of France, England, and Holland, was the Hungarian war.
Hungary was not a province of Austria, but was a distinct state. In
1526, the crowns of the two kingdoms were united, like those of
England and Hanover under George I. But the Hungarians were always
impatient of the rule of the Emperor of Germany, and, in the space of
a century, arose five times in defence of their liberties.

In 1667, one of these insurrections took place, occasioned by the
aggressive policy and government of Leopold. The Hungarians conspired
to secure their liberties, but in vain. So soon as the emperor was
aware of the conspiracy of his Hungarian subjects, he adopted vigorous
measures, quartered thirty thousand additional troops in Hungary,
loaded the people with taxes, occupied the principal fortresses,
banished the chiefs, and changed the constitution of the country. He
also attempted to suppress Protestantism, and committed all the
excesses of a military despotism. These accumulated oppressions drove
a brave but turbulent people to despair, and both Catholics and
Protestants united for their common safety. The insurgents were
assisted by the Prince of Transylvania, and were supplied with money
and provisions by the French. They also found a noble defender in
Emeric Tekeli, a young Hungarian noble, who hated Austria as intensely
as Hannibal hated Rome, and who, at the head of twenty thousand men,
defended his country against the emperor. Moreover, he successfully
intrigued with the Turks, who invaded Hungary with two hundred
thousand men, and advanced to lay siege to Vienna. This immense army
was defeated by John Sobieski, to whom Leopold appealed in his
necessities, and the Turks were driven out of Hungary. Tekeli was
gradually insulated from those who had formed the great support of his
cause, and, in consequence of jealousies which Leopold had fomented
between him and the Turks, was arrested and sent in chains to
Constantinople. New victories followed the imperial army, and Leopold
succeeded in making the crown of Hungary, hitherto elective,
hereditary in his family. He instituted in the conquered country a
horrible inquisitorial tribunal, and perpetrated cruelties which
scarcely find a parallel in the proscriptions of Marius and Sylla. His
son Joseph, at the age of ten, was crowned king of Hungary with great
magnificence, and with the usual solemnities.

When the Hungarian difficulties were settled, Leopold had more leisure
to prosecute his war with the Turks, in which he gained signal
successes. The Ottoman Porte was humbled and crippled, and a great
source of discontent to the Christian powers of Europe was removed. By
the peace of Carlovitz, (1697,) Leopold secured Hungary and Sclavonia,
which had been so long occupied by the Turks, and consolidated his
empire by the acquisition of Transylvania.

[Sidenote: The Emperor Joseph.]

Leopold I. lived only to witness the splendid victories of Marlborough
and Eugene, by which the power of his great rival, Louis, was
effectually reduced. He died in 1705, having reigned forty-six years;
the longest reign in the Austrian annals, except that of Frederic III.

He was a man of great private virtues; pure in his morals, faithful to
his wife, a good father, and a kind master. He was minute in his
devotions, unbounded in his charities, and cultivated in his taste.
But he was reserved, cold, and phlegmatic. His jealousy of Sobieski
was unworthy of his station, and his severities in Hungary made him
the object of execration. He was narrow, bigoted, and selfish. But he
lived in an age of great activity, and his reign forms an era in the
military and civil institutions of his country. The artillery had been
gradually lightened, and received most of the improvements which at
present are continued. Bayonets had been added to muskets, and the use
of pikes abandoned. Armies were increased from twenty or thirty
thousand men to one hundred thousand, more systematically formed. A
police was established in the cities, and these were lighted and
paved. Jurisprudence was improved, and numerous grievances were

Leopold was succeeded by his eldest son, Joseph, who had an energetic
and aspiring mind. His reign is memorable for the continuation of the
great War of the Spanish Succession, signalized by the victories of
Marlborough and Eugene, the humiliation of the French, and the career
of Charles XII. of Sweden. He also restored Bohemia to its electoral
rights, rewarded the elector palatine with the honors and territories
wrested from his family by the Thirty Years' War, and confirmed the
house of Hanover in the possession of the ninth electorate. He had
nearly restored tranquillity to his country, when he died (1711) of
the small-pox--a victim to the ignorance of his physicians. He was a
lover and patron of the arts, and spoke several languages with
elegance and fluency. But he had the usual faults of absolute princes;
was prodigal in his expenditures, irascible in his temper, fond of
pageants and pleasure, and enslaved by women.

[Sidenote: Accession of Maria Theresa.]

He was succeeded by his brother, the Archduke Charles, under the title
of Charles VI. Soon after his accession, the tranquillity of Europe
was established by the peace of Utrecht, and Austria once more became
the preponderating power in Europe. But Charles VI. was not capable of
appreciating the greatness of his position, or the true sources of
national power. He, however, devoted himself zealously to the affairs
of his empire, and effected some useful reforms. As he had no male
issue, he had drawn up a solemn law, called the _Pragmatic Sanction_,
according to which he transferred to his daughter, Maria Theresa, his
vast hereditary possessions. He found great difficulty in securing the
assent of the European powers to this law; but, after a while, he
effected his object. On his death, (1740,) Maria Theresa succeeded to
all the dominions of the house of Austria.

No princess ever ascended a throne under circumstances of greater
peril, or in a situation which demanded greater energy and fortitude.
Her army had dwindled to thirty thousand; her treasury contained only
one hundred thousand florins; a general scarcity of provisions
distressed the people, and the vintage was cut off by the frost.

Under all these embarrassing circumstances, the Elector of Bavaria
laid claim to her territory, and Frederic II. marched into Silesia. It
has been already stated that England sympathized with her troubles,
and lent a generous aid. Her appeal to her Hungarian subjects, and the
enthusiasm they manifested in her cause, have also been described. The
boldness of Frederic and the distress of Maria Theresa drew upon them
the eyes of all Europe. Hostilities were prosecuted four years, which
resulted in the acquisition of Silesia by the King of Prussia. The
peace of Dresden (1745) gave a respite to Germany, and Frederic and
Maria Theresa prepared for new conflicts.

The Seven Years' War has been briefly described, in connection with
the reign of Frederic, and need not be further discussed. The war was
only closed by the exhaustion of all the parties engaged in it.

In 1736, Maria Theresa was married to Francis Stephen, Grand Duke of
Tuscany, and he was elected (1745) Emperor of Germany, under the title
of _Francis I._ He died soon after the peace of Hubertsburg was
signed, and his son Joseph succeeded to the throne of the empire, and
was co-regent, as his father had been, with Maria Theresa. But the
empress queen continued to be the real, as she was the legitimate,
sovereign of Austria, and took an active part in all the affairs of

[Sidenote: Maria Theresa Institutes Reforms.]

When the tranquillity of her kingdom was restored, she founded various
colleges, reformed the public schools, promoted agriculture and
instituted many beneficial regulations for the prosperity of her
subjects. She reformed the church, diminished the number of
superfluous clergy, suppressed the Inquisition and the Jesuits, and
formed a system of military economy which surpassed the boasted
arrangements of Frederic II. "She combined private economy with public
liberality, dignity with condescension, elevation of soul with
humility of spirit, and the virtues of domestic life with the splendid
qualities which grace a throne." Her death, in 1780, was felt as a
general loss to the people, who adored her; and her reign is
considered as one of the most illustrious in Austrian annals.

Her reign was, however, sullied by the partition of Poland, in which
she was concerned with Frederic the Great and Catharine II. Before
this is treated, we will consider the reign of the Russian empress.

       *       *       *       *       *

The reign of Catharine II., like that of Maria Theresa, is interlinked
with that of Frederic. But some remarks concerning her predecessors,
after the death of Peter the Great, are first necessary.

[Sidenote: Successors of Peter the Great.]

Catharine, the wife of Peter, was crowned empress before his death.
The first years of her reign were agreeable to the people, because she
diminished the taxes, and introduced a mild policy in the government
of her subjects. She intrusted to Prince Menzikoff an important share
in the government of the realm.

But Catharine, who, during the reign of Peter I., had displayed so
much enterprise and intrepidity, very soon disdained business, and
abandoned herself to luxury and pleasure. She died in 1727, and
Peter II. ascended her throne, chiefly in consequence of the intrigues
of Menzikoff, who, like Richelieu, wished to make the emperor his

Peter II. was only thirteen years of age when he became emperor. He
was the son of Alexis, and, consequently, grandson of Peter I. His
youth did not permit him to assume the reins of government, and every
thing was committed to the care of Menzikoff, who reigned, for a time,
with absolute power. But he, at last, incurred the displeasure of his
youthful master, and was exiled to Siberia. But Peter II. did not long
survive the disgrace of his minister. He died of the small-pox, in

He was succeeded by Anne, Duchess of Holstein, and eldest daughter of
Catharine I. But she lived but a few months after her accession to the
throne, and the Princess Elizabeth succeeded her.

The Empress Elizabeth resembled her mother, the beautiful Catharine,
but was voluptuous and weak. She abandoned herself to puerile
amusements and degrading follies. And she was as superstitious as she
was debauched. She would continue whole hours on her knees before an
image, to which she spoke, and which she ever consulted; and then
would turn from bigotry to infamous sensuality. She hated
Frederic II., and assisted Maria Theresa in her struggles. Russia
gained no advantage from the Seven Years' War, except that of
accustoming the Russians to the tactics of modern warfare. She died in
1762, and was succeeded by the Grand Duke Peter Fedorowitz, son of the
Duke of Holstein and Anne, daughter of Peter I. He assumed the title
of Peter III.

[Sidenote: Murder of Peter III.]

Peter III. was a weak prince, but disposed to be beneficent. One of
his first acts was to recall the numerous exiles whom the jealousy of
Elizabeth had consigned to the deserts of Siberia. Among them was
Biren, the haughty lover and barbarous minister of the Empress Anne
and Marshal Munich, a veteran of eighty-two years of age. Peter also
abolished the Inquisition, established by Alexis Michaelowitz, and
promoted commerce, the arts, and sciences. He attempted to imitate the
king of Prussia, for whom he had an extravagant admiration. He set at
liberty the Prussian prisoners, and made peace with Frederic II. He
had a great respect for Germany, but despised the country over which
he was called to reign. But his partiality for the Germans, and his
numerous reforms, alienated the affections of his subjects, and he was
not sufficiently able to curb the spirit of discontent. He imitated
his immediate predecessors in the vices of drunkenness and sensuality,
and was guilty of great imprudences. He reigned but a few months,
being dethroned and murdered. His wife, the Empress Catharine, was the
chief of the conspirators; and she was urged to the bloody act by her
own desperate circumstances. She was obnoxious to her husband, who
probably would have destroyed her, had his life been prolonged. She,
in view of his hostility, and prompted by an infernal ambition, sought
to dethrone her husband. She was assisted by some of the most powerful
nobles, and gained over most of the regiments of the imperial guard.
The Archbishop of Novgorod and the clergy were friendly to her,
because they detested the reforms which Peter had attempted to make.
Catharine became mistress of St. Petersburg, and caused herself to be
crowned Empress of Russia, in one of the principal churches. Peter had
timely notice of the revolt, but not the energy to suppress it. He
listened to the entreaties of women, rather than to the counsels of
those veteran generals who still supported his throne. He was timid,
irresolute, and vacillating. He was doomed. He was a weak and
infatuated prince, and nothing could save him. He surrendered himself
into the hands of Catharine, abdicated his empire, and, shortly after,
died of poison. His wife seated herself, without further opposition,
on his throne; and the principal nobles of the empire, the army, and
the clergy, took the oath of allegiance, and the monarchs of Europe
acknowledged her as the absolute sovereign of Russia. In 1763, she was
firmly established in the power which had been before wielded by
Catharine I. She had dethroned an imbecile prince, whom she abhorred;
but the revolution was accomplished without bloodshed, and resulted in
the prosperity of Russia.

Catharine was a woman of great moral defects; but she had many
excellences to counterbalance them; and her rule was, on the whole,
able and beneficent. She was no sooner established in the power which
she had usurped, than she directed attention to the affairs of her
empire, and sought to remedy the great evils which existed. She
devoted herself to business, advanced commerce and the arts, regulated
the finances, improved the jurisprudence of the realm, patronized all
works of internal improvement, rewarded eminent merit, encouraged
education, and exercised a liberal and enlightened policy in her
intercourse with foreign powers. After engaging in business with her
ministers, she would converse with scholars and philosophers. With
some she studied politics, and with others literature. She tolerated
all religions, abolished odious courts, and enacted mild laws. She
held out great inducements for foreigners to settle in Russia, and
founded colleges and hospitals in all parts of her empire.

[Sidenote: Assassination of Ivan.]

Beneficent as her reforms were, she nevertheless committed some great
political crimes. One of these was the assassination of the dethroned
Ivan, the great-grandson of the Czar Ivan Alexejewitsch, who was
brother of Peter the Great. On the death of the Empress Anne, in 1731,
he had been proclaimed emperor: but when Elizabeth was placed upon the
throne, the infant was confined in the fortress of Schlussenburg. Here
he was so closely guarded and confined, that he was never allowed
access to the open air or the light of day. On the accession of
Catharine, he was twenty-three years of age, and was extremely
ignorant and weak. But a conspiracy was formed to liberate him, and
place him on the throne. The attempt proved abortive, and the prince
perished by the sword of his jailers, who were splendidly rewarded for
their infamous services.

Her scheme of foreign aggrandizement, and especially her interference
in the affairs of Poland, caused the Ottoman Porte to declare war
against her, which war proved disastrous to Turkey, and contributed to
aggrandize the empire of Russia. The Turks lost several battles on the
Pruth, Dniester, and Danube; the provinces of Wallachia, and Moldavia,
and Bessarabia submitted to the Russian arms; while a great naval
victory, in the Mediterranean, was gained by Alexis Orloff, whose
share in the late revolution had raised him from the rank of a simple
soldier to that of a general of the empire, and a favorite of the
empress. The naval defeat of the Turks at Tschesmé, by Orloff and
Elphinstone, was one of the most signal of that age, and greatly
weakened the power of Turkey. The war was not terminated until 1774,
when the Turks were compelled to make peace, by the conditions of
which, Russia obtained a large accession of territory, a great sum of
money, the free navigation of the Black Sea, and a passage through the

In 1772 occurred the partition of Poland between Austria, Prussia, and
Russia. Catharine and Frederic II. were the chief authors of this
great political crime, which will be treated in the notice on Poland.

The reign of Catharine was not signalized by any other great political
events which affected materially the interests of Europe, except the
continuation of the war with the Turks, which broke out again in 1778,
and which was concluded in 1792, by the treaty of Jassy. In this war,
Prince Potemkin, the favorite and prime minister of Catharine, greatly
distinguished himself; also General Suwarrow, afterwards noted for his
Polish campaigns. In this war Russia lost two hundred thousand men,
and the Turks three hundred and thirty thousand, besides expending two
hundred and fifty millions of piasters. The most important political
consequence was the aggrandizement of Russia, whose dominion was
established on the Black Sea.

[Sidenote: Death of Catharine.]

Catharine, having acquired, either by arms or intrigues, almost half
of Poland, the Crimea, and a part of the frontiers of Turkey, then
turned her arms against Persia. But she died before she could realize
her dreams of conquest. At her death, she was the most powerful
sovereign that ever reigned in Russia. She was succeeded by her son,
Paul I., (1796,) and her remains were deposited by the side of her
murdered husband, while his chief murderers, Alexis Orloff and Prince
Baratinski, were ordered to stand at her funeral, on each side of his
coffin as chief mourners.

Catharine, though a woman of great energy and talent, was ruled by
favorites; the most distinguished of whom were Gregory Orloff and
Prince Potemkin. The former was a man of brutal manners and surprising
audacity; the latter was more civilized, but was a man disgraced, like
Orloff, by every vice. His memory, however, is still cherished in
Russia on account of his military successes. He received more honors
and rewards from his sovereign than is recorded of any favorite and
minister of modern times. His power was equal to what Richelieu
enjoyed, and his fortune was nearly as great as Mazarin's. He was
knight of the principal orders of Prussia, Sweden, Poland, and Russia,
field-marshal, commander-in-chief of the Russian armies, high admiral
of the fleets, great hetman of the Cossacks, and chamberlain of the
empress. He received from her a fortune of fifty millions of roubles;
equal to nearly twenty-five millions of dollars. The Orloffs received
also about seventeen millions in lands, and palaces, and money, with
forty-five thousand peasants.

[Sidenote: Her Character.]

Catharine had two passions which never left her but with her last
breath--the love of the other sex, which degenerated into the most
unbounded licentiousness, and the love of glory, which sunk into
vanity. She expended ninety millions of roubles on her favorites, the
number of which is almost incredible; and she was induced to engage in
wars, which increased the burdens of her subjects.

With the exception of these two passions, her character is interesting
and commanding. Her reign was splendid, and her court magnificent. Her
institutions and monuments were to Russia what the magnificence of
Louis XIV. was to France. She was active and regular in her habits;
was never hurried away by anger, and was never a prey to dejection;
caprice and ill humor were never perceived in her conduct; she was
humorous, gay, and affable; she appreciated literature, and encouraged
good institutions; and, with all her faults, obtained the love and
reverence of her subjects. She had not the virtues of Maria Theresa,
but had, perhaps, greater energy of character. Her foulest act was her
part in the dismemberment of Poland, which now claims a notice.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--For the reign of Maria Theresa, see Archdeacon
     Coxe's Memoirs of the House of Austria, which is the most
     interesting and complete. See also Putter's Constitution of
     the Germanic Empire; Kolhrausch's History of Germany;
     Heeren's Modern History; Smyth's Lectures; also a history of
     Germany, in Dr. Lardner's Cyclopædia. For a life of
     Catharine, see Castina's Life, translated by Hunter; Tooke's
     Life of Catharine II.; Ségur's Vie de Catharine II.; Coxe's
     Travels; Heeren's and Russell's Modern History.



[Sidenote: Calamities of Poland.]

No kingdom in Europe has been subjected to so many misfortunes and
changes, considering its former greatness, as the Polish monarchy.
Most of the European states have retained their ancient limits, for
several centuries, without material changes, but Poland has been
conquered, dismembered, and plundered. Its ancient constitution has
been completely subverted, and its extensive provinces are now annexed
to the territories of Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The greatness of
the national calamities has excited the sympathy of Christian nations,
and its unfortunate fate is generally lamented.

In the sixteenth century, Poland was a greater state than Russia, and
was the most powerful of the northern kingdoms of Europe. The Poles,
as a nation, are not, however, of very ancient date. Prior to the
ninth century, they were split up into numerous tribes, independent of
each other, and governed by their respective chieftains. Christianity
was introduced in the tenth century, and the earliest records of the
people were preserved by the monks. We know but little, with
certainty, until the time of Piast, who united the various states, and
whose descendants reigned until 1386, when the dynasty of the
Jagellons commenced, and continued till 1572. Under the princes of
this line, the government was arbitrary and oppressive. War was the
great business and amusement of the princes, and success in it brought
the highest honors. The kings were, however, weak, cruel, and
capricious, ignorant, fierce, and indolent. The records of their
reigns are the records of drunkenness, extortion, cruelty, lust, and
violence--the common history of all barbarous kings. There were some
of the Polish princes who were benignant and merciful, but the great
majority of them, like the Merovingian and Carlovingian princes of the
Dark Ages, were unfit to reign, were the slaves of superstition, and
the tools of designing priests. There is a melancholy gloom hanging
over the annals of the Middle Ages, especially in reference to kings.
And yet their reigns, though stained by revolting crimes, generally
were to be preferred to the anarchy of an interregnum, or the
overgrown power of nobles.

The brightest period in the history of Poland was during the reigns of
the Jagellon princes, especially when Casimir I. held the sceptre of
empire. During his reign, Lithuania, which then comprised Hungary,
Bohemia, and Silesia, was added to his kingdom. The university of
Cracow was founded, and Poland was the great resort of the Jews, to
whom were committed the trade and commerce of the land. But the rigors
of the feudal system, and the vast preponderance of the aristocracy,
proved unfortunate for the prosperity of the kingdom. What in England
was the foundation of constitutional liberty, proved in Poland to be
subversive of all order and good government. In England, the
representative of the nation was made an instrument in the hands of
the king of humbling the great nobility. Absolutism was established
upon the ruins of feudalism. But, in Poland, the Diet of the nation
controlled the king, and, as the representatives of the nobility
alone, perpetuated the worst evils of the feudal system.

[Sidenote: The Crown of Poland Made Elective.]

When Sigismund II., the last male heir of the house of Jagellon, died,
in 1572, the nobles were sufficiently powerful to make the crown
elective. From this period we date the decline of Poland. The
Reformation, so beneficent in its effects, did not spread to this
Sclavonic country; and the barbarism of the Middle Ages received no
check. On the death of Sigismund, the nobles would not permit the new
sovereign to be elected by the Diet, but only by the whole body of the
nobility. The plain of Praga was the place selected for the election;
and, at the time appointed, such a vast number of nobles arrived, that
the plain, of twelve miles in circumference, was scarcely large enough
to contain them and their retinues. There never was such a sight seen
since the crusaders were marshalled on the field of Chalcedon, for all
the nobles were gorgeously apparelled, and decked with ermine, gold,
and jewels. The Polish horseman frequently invests half his fortune in
his horse and dress. In the centre of the field was the tent of the
late king, capable of accommodating eight thousand men. The candidates
for the crown were Ernest Archduke of Austria; the Czar of Russia; a
Swedish prince, and Henry of Valois, Duke of Anjou, and brother of
Charles IX., king of France.

[Sidenote: Election of Henry, Duke of Anjou.]

The first candidate was rejected because the house of Austria was
odious to the Polish nobles; the second, on account of his arrogance;
and the third, because he was not powerful enough to bring advantage
to the republic. The choice fell on the Duke of Anjou; and he, for the
title of a king, agreed to the ignominious conditions which the Poles
proposed, viz., that he should not attempt to influence the election
of his successors, or assume the title of heir of the monarchy, or
declare war without the consent of the Diet, or impose taxes of any
description, or have power to appoint his ambassadors, or any
foreigner to a benefice in the church; that he should convoke the Diet
every two years; and that he should not marry without its permission.
He also was required to furnish four thousand French troops, in case
of war; to apply annually, for the sole benefit of the Polish state, a
considerable part of his hereditary revenues; to pay the debts of the
crown; and to educate, at his own expense, at Paris or Cracow, one
hundred Polish nobles. He had scarcely been crowned when his brother
died, and he was called to the throne of France. But he found it
difficult to escape from his kingdom, the government of which he found
to be burdensome and vexatious. No criminal ever longed to escape from
a prison, more than this prince to break the fetters which bound him
to his imperious subjects. He resolved to run away; concealed his
intentions with great address; gave a great ball at his palace; and in
the midst of the festivities, set out with full speed towards Silesia.
He was pursued, but reached the territories of the emperor of Germany
before he was overtaken. He reached Paris in safety, and was soon
after crowned as king of France.

[Sidenote: Sobieski Assists the Emperor Leopold.]

He was succeeded by Stephen, Duke of Transylvania; and he, again, by
Sigismund, Prince of Sweden. The two sons of Sigismund, successively,
were elected kings of Poland, the last of whom, John II., was
embroiled in constant war. It was during his disastrous reign that
John Sobieski, with ten thousand Poles, defeated eighty thousand
Cossacks, the hereditary enemies of Poland. On the death of Michael,
who had succeeded John II., Sobieski was elected king, and he assumed
the title of _John III._ He was a native noble, and was chosen for his
military talents and successes. Indeed, Poland needed a strong arm to
defend her. Her decline had already commenced, and Sobieski himself
could not avert the ruin which impended. For some time, Poland enjoyed
cessation from war, and the energies of the monarch were directed to
repair the evils which had disgraced his country. But before he could
prosecute successfully any useful reforms, the war between the Turks
and the eastern powers of Europe broke out, and Vienna was besieged by
an overwhelming army of two hundred thousand Mohammedans. The city was
bravely defended, but its capture seemed inevitable. The emperor of
Germany, Leopold, in his despair, implored the aid of Sobieski. He was
invested with the command of the allied armies of Austrians,
Bavarians, Saxons, and Poles, amounting to seventy thousand men. With
this force he advanced to relieve Vienna. He did not hesitate to
attack the vast forces encamped beneath the walls of the Austrian
capital, and obtained one of the most signal victories in the history
of war. Immense treasures fell into his hands, and Vienna and
Christendom were saved.

But the mean-spirited emperor treated his deliverer with arrogance and
chilling coldness. No gratitude was exhibited or felt. But the pope
sent him the rarest of his gifts--"the dove of pearls." Sobieski, in
spite of the ingratitude of Leopold, pursued his victories over the
Turks; and, like Charles Martel, ten centuries before, freed Europe
from the danger of a Mohammedan yoke. But he saved a serpent, when
about to be crushed, which turned and stung him for his kindness. The
dismemberment of his country soon followed the deliverance of Vienna.

He was succeeded, in 1696, by Frederic Augustus, Elector of Saxony,
whose reign was a constant succession of disasters. During his reign,
Poland was invaded and conquered by Charles XII. of Sweden. He was
succeeded by his son, Frederic Augustus II., the most beautiful,
extravagant, luxurious, and licentious monarch of his age. But he was
a man of elegant tastes, and he filled Dresden with pictures and works
of art, which are still the admiration of travellers. His reign, as
king of Poland, was exceedingly disastrous. Muscovite and Prussian
armies traversed the plains of Poland at pleasure, and extorted
whatever they pleased. Faction was opposed by faction in the field and
in the Diet. The national assembly was dissolved by the _veto_, the
laws were disregarded, and brute force prevailed on every side. The
miserable peasants in vain besought the protection of their brutal yet
powerless lords. Bands of robbers infested the roads, and hunger
invaded the cottages. The country rapidly declined in wealth,
population, and public spirit.

Under the reign of Stanislaus II., who succeeded Frederic
Augustus II., in 1764, the ambassadors of Prussia, Austria, and
Russia, informed the miserable king that, in order to prevent further
bloodshed, and restore peace to Poland, the three powers had
determined to insist upon their claims to some of the provinces of the
kingdom. This barefaced and iniquitous scheme for the dismemberment of
Poland originated with Frederic the Great. So soon as the close of the
Seven Years' War allowed him repose, he turned his eyes to Poland,
with a view of seizing one of her richest provinces. Territories
inhabited by four million eight hundred thousand people, were divided
between Frederic, Maria Theresa, and Catharine II. There were no
scruples of conscience in the breast of Frederic, or of Catharine, a
woman of masculine energy, but disgraceful morals. The conscience of
Maria Theresa, however, long resisted. "The fear of hell," said she,
"restrains me from seizing another's possessions;" but sophistry was
brought to bear upon her mind, and the lust of dominion asserted its
powerful sway. This crime was regarded with detestation by the other
powers of Europe; but they were too much occupied with their own
troubles to interfere, except by expostulation. England was disturbed
by difficulties in the colonies, and France was distracted by
revolutionary tumults.

[Sidenote: The Liberum Veto.]

Stanislaus, robbed of one third of his dominions, now directed his
attention to those reforms which had been so long imperatively needed.
He intrusted to the celebrated Zamoyski the task of revising the
constitution. The patriotic chancellor recommended the abolition of
the "liberum veto," a fatal privilege, by which any one of the armed
equestrians, who assembled on the plain of Praga to elect a king, or
deliberate on state affairs, had power to nullify the most important
acts, and even to dissolve the assembly. A single word, pronounced in
the vehemence of domestic strife, or by the influence of external
corruption, could plunge the nation into a lethargic sleep. And
faction went so far as often to lead to the dissolution of the
assembly. The treasury, the army, the civil authority then fell into a
state of anarchy. Zamoyski also recommended the emancipation of serfs,
the encouragement of commerce, the elevation of the trading classes,
and the abolition of the fatal custom of electing a king. But the
Polish nobles, infatuated and doomed, opposed these wholesome reforms.
They even had the madness to invoke the aid of the Empress Catharine
to protect them in their ancient privileges. She sent an army into
Poland, and great disturbances resulted.

[Sidenote: The Fall of Poland.]

Too late, at last, the nobles perceived their folly, and adopted some
of the proposed reforms. But these reforms gave a new pretence to the
allied powers for a second dismemberment. An army of one hundred
thousand men invaded Poland, to effect a new partition. The unhappy
country, without fortified towns or mountains, abandoned by all the
world, distracted by divisions, and destitute of fortresses and
military stores, was crushed by the power of gigantic enemies. There
were patriotism and bravery left, but no union or organized strength.
The patriots made a desperate struggle under Kosciusko, a Lithuanian
noble, but were forced to yield to inevitable necessity. Warsaw for a
time held out against fifty thousand men; but the Polish hero was
defeated in a decisive engagement, and unfortunately taken prisoner.
His countrymen still rallied, and another bloody battle was fought at
Praga, opposite Warsaw, on the other side of the Vistula, and ten
thousand were slain; Praga was reduced to a heap of ruins; and twelve
thousand citizens were slaughtered in cold blood. Warsaw soon after
surrendered, Stanislaus was sent as a captive to Russia, and the final
partition of the kingdom was made.

"Sarmatia fell," but not "unwept," or "without a crime." "She fell,"
says Alison, "a victim of her own dissensions, of the chimera of
equality falsely pursued, and the rigor of aristocracy unceasingly
maintained. The eldest born of the European family was the first to
perish, because she had thwarted all the ends of the social union;
because she united the turbulence of democratic to the exclusion of
aristocratic societies; because she had the vacillation of a republic
without its energy, and the oppression of a monarchy without its
stability. The Poles obstinately refused to march with other nations
in the only road to civilization; they had valor, but it could not
enforce obedience to the laws; it could not preserve domestic
tranquillity; it could not restrain the violence of petty feuds and
intestine commotions; it could not preserve the proud nobles from
unbounded dissipation and corruption; it could not prevent foreign
powers from interfering in the affairs of the kingdom; it could not
dissolve the union of these powers with discontented parties at home;
it could not inspire the slowly-moving machine of government with
vigor, when the humblest partisan, corrupted with foreign money, could
arrest it with a word; it could not avert the entrance of foreign
armies to support the factious and rebellious; it could not uphold, in
a divided country, the national independence against the combined
effects of foreign and domestic treason; finally, it could not effect
impossibilities, nor turn aside the destroying sword which had so long
impended over it."

But this great crime was attended with retribution. Prussia, in her
efforts to destroy Poland, paralyzed her armies on the Rhine. Suwarrow
entered Warsaw when its spires were reddened by the fires of Praga;
but the sack of the fallen capital was forgotten in the conflagration
of Moscow. The remains of the soldiers of Kosciusko sought a refuge in
republican France, and served with distinction, in the armies of
Napoleon, against the powers that had dismembered their country.

The ruin of Poland, as an independent state, was not fully
accomplished until the year 1832, when it was incorporated into the
great empire of Russia. But the history of the late revolution, with
all its melancholy results, cannot be well presented in this

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--Fletcher's History of Poland. Rulhière's
     Histoire de l'Anarchie de Pologne. Coyer's Vie de Sobieski.
     Parthenay's History of Augustus II. Hordynski's History of
     the late Polish Revolution. Also see Lives of Frederic II.,
     Maria Theresa, and Catharine II.; contemporaneous histories
     of Prussia, Russia, and Austria; Alison's History of Europe;
     Smyth's Lectures; Russell's Modern Europe; Heeren's Modern



[Sidenote: Saracenic Empire.]

While the great monarchies of Western Europe were struggling for
preëminence, and were developing resources greater than had ever
before been exhibited since the fall of the Roman empire, that great
power which had alarmed and astonished Christendom in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, began to show the signs of weakness and
decay. Nothing, in the history of society, is more marvellous than the
rise of Mohammedan kingdoms. The victories of the Saracens and Turks
were rapid and complete; and in the tenth century, they were the most
successful warriors on the globe, and threatened to subvert the world.
They had planted the standard of the Prophet on the walls of Eastern
capitals, and had extended their conquests to India on the east, and
to Spain on the west. Powerful Mohammedan states had arisen in Asia,
Africa, and Europe, and the Crusaders alone arrested the progress of
these triumphant armies. The enthusiasm which the doctrines of
Mohammed had kindled, cannot easily be explained; but it was fresh,
impetuous, and self-sacrificing. Successive armies of Mohammedan
invaders overwhelmed the ancient realms of civilization, and reduced
the people whom they conquered and converted to a despotic yoke. But
success enervated the victorious conquerors of the East, the empire of
the Caliphs was broken up, and great changes took place even in those
lands where the doctrines of the Koran prevailed. Mohammed perpetuated
a religion, but not an empire. Different Saracenic chieftains revolted
from the "Father of the Faithful," and established separate kingdoms,
or viceroyalties, nearly independent of the acknowledged successors of
Mohammed. The Saracenic empire was early dismembered, and the sultans
of Egypt, Spain, and Syria contested for preëminence.

[Sidenote: Rise of the Turks.]

But a new power arose on the ruins of the Saracen empire, and became
the enthusiastic defenders of the religion of Islam. The Turks were an
obscure tribe of barbarians when Bagdad was the seat of a powerful
monarchy. Their origin has been traced to the wilds of Scythia; but
they early deserted their native forests in search of more fruitful
regions. When Apulia and Sicily were subdued by the Norman pirates, a
swarm of these Scythian shepherds settled in Armenia, probably in the
ninth century, and, by their valor and simplicity, soon became a
powerful tribe. Not long after they were settled in their new abode,
the Sultan of Persia invoked their aid to assist him in his wars
against the Caliph of Bagdad, his great rival. The Turks complied with
his request, and their arms were successful. The sultan then refused
to part with such useful auxiliaries, and moreover, fearing their
strength, designed to employ them in his wars against the Hindoos, and
to shut them up in the centre of his dominions. The Turkmans rebelled,
withdrew into a mountainous part of the country, became robbers, and
devastated the adjacent countries. The band of robbers gradually
swelled into a powerful army, gained a great victory over the troops
of the Sultan Mohammed, and placed their chieftain upon the Persian
throne, (1038.) According to Gibbon, the new monarch was chosen by
lot, and Seljuk had the fortune to win the prize of conquest, and
became the founder of the dynasty of the Shepherd kings. During the
reign of his grandson Togrul, the ancient Persian princes were
expelled, and the Turks embraced the religion of the conquered. In
1055, the Turkish sultan delivered the Caliph of Bagdad from the arms
of the Caliph of Egypt, who disputed with him the title of _Commander
of the Faithful_. For this service he was magnificently rewarded by
the grateful successor of the Prophet, who, at that time, banqueted in
his palace at Bagdad--a venerable phantom of power. The victorious
sultan was publicly commissioned as lieutenant of the caliph, and he
was virtually seated on the throne of the Abbassides. Shortly after,
the Turkish conqueror invaded the falling empire of the Greeks, and
its Asiatic provinces were irretrievably lost. In the latter part of
the eleventh century, the Turkish power was established in Asia Minor,
and Jerusalem itself had fallen into the hands of the sultan. He
exacted two pieces of gold from the Christian pilgrim, and treated
him, moreover, with greater cruelty than the Saracens had ever
exercised. The extortion and oppression of the Turkish masters of the
Sacred City led to the Crusades and the final possession of Western
Asia by the followers of the Prophet. The Turkish power constantly
increased with the decline of the Saracenic and Greek empires, but the
Seljukian dynasty, like that of Abbassides at Bagdad, at last run out,
and Othman, a soldier of fortune, became sultan of the Turks. He is
regarded as the founder of the Ottoman empire, and under his reign,
from 1299 to 1326, the Moslems made rapid strides in the progress of

[Sidenote: Turkish Conquerors.]

Orkham, his son, instituted the force of the Janizaries, completed the
conquest of Bithynia, and laid the foundation of Turkish power in
Europe. Under his successor, Amurath I., Adrianople became the capital
of the Ottoman empire, and the rival of Constantinople. Bajazet
succeeded Amurath, and his conquests extended from the Euphrates to
the Danube. In 1396, he defeated, at Nicopolis, a confederate army of
one hundred thousand Christians; and, in the intoxication of victory,
declared that he would feed his horse with a bushel of oats on the
altar of St. Peter, at Rome. Had it not been for the victories of
Tamerlane, Constantinople, which contained within its walls the feeble
fragments of a great empire, would also have fallen into his hands. He
was unsuccessful in his war with the great conqueror of Asia, and was
defeated at the battle of Angora, (1402,) and taken captive, and
carried to Samarcand, by Tamerlane, in an iron cage.

The great Bajazet died in captivity, and Mohammed I. succeeded to his
throne. He restored, on a firmer basis, the fabric of the Ottoman
monarchy, and devoted himself to the arts of peace. His successor,
Amurath II., continued hostilities with the Greeks, and laid siege to
Constantinople. But this magnificent city, the last monument of Roman
greatness, resisted the Turkish arms only for a while. In 1453, it
fell before an irresistible force of three hundred thousand men,
supported by a fleet of three hundred sail. The Emperor Constantine
succeeded in maintaining a siege of fifty-three days; and the religion
and empire of the Christians were trodden to the dust by the Moslem
conquerors. The city was sacked, the people were enslaved, and the
Church of St. Sophia was despoiled of the oblations of ages, and
converted into a Mohammedan mosque. One hundred and twenty thousand
manuscripts perished in the sack of Constantinople, and the palaces
and treasure of the Greeks were transferred to semi-barbarians.

[Sidenote: Progress of the Turks.]

From that time, the Byzantine capital became the seat of the Ottoman
empire; and, for more than two centuries, Turkish armies excited the
fears and disturbed the peace of the world. They gradually subdued and
annexed Macedonia, the Peloponnesus, Epirus, Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia,
Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, India, Tunis, Algiers, Media,
Mesopotamia, and a part of Hungary, to the dominions of the sultan. In
the sixteenth century, the Ottoman empire was the most powerful in the
world. Nor should we be surprised, in view of the great success of the
Turks, when we remember their singular bravery, their absorbing
ambition, their almost incredible obedience to the commands of the
sultan, and the unity which pervaded the national councils. They also
fought to extend their religion, to which they were blind devotees.
After the capture of Constantinople, a succession of great princes sat
on the most absolute throne known in modern times; men disgraced by
many crimes, but still singularly adapted to extend their dominion.

The progress of the Turks justly alarmed the Emperor Charles V., and
he exerted all his energies to unite the German princes against them,
but unsuccessfully. The Sultan Solyman, called the _Magnificent_,
maintained his supremacy over Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia,
ravaged Hungary, wrested Rhodes from the Knights of St. John,
conquered the whole of Arabia, and attacked the Portuguese dominion in
India. He raised the Turkish empire to the highest pitch of its
greatness, and died while besieging Sigeth, as he was completing the
conquest of Hungary. His empire was one vast camp, and his decrees
were dated from the imperial stirrup. The iron sceptre which he and
his successors wielded was imbrued in blood; and discipline alone was
the politics of his soldiers, and rapine their resources.

Selim II. succeeded Solyman, and set the ruinous example of not going
himself to the wars, and of carrying them on by his lieutenants. His
son, Murad III., penetrated into Russia and Poland, and made war on
the Emperor of Germany. Mohammed III., who died in 1604, murdered all
his brothers, nineteen in number, and executed his own son. It was
usual, when an emperor mounted the throne, for him to put to death his
brothers and nephews. Indeed, the characters of the sultans were
marked by unusual ferocity and jealousy, and they were unscrupulous in
the means they took to advance their power. The world has never seen
more suspicious tyrants; and it ever must excite our wonder that they
were so unhesitatingly obeyed. But they were, however, sometimes
dethroned by the Janizaries, who constituted a sort of imperial guard.
Osman II., fearing their power, and disgusted with their degeneracy,
resolved to destroy them, as dangerous to the state. But his design
was discovered, and he himself lost his life, (1622.) Several monsters
of tyranny and iniquity succeeded him, whose reigns were disgraced by
every excess of debauchery and cruelty. Their subjects, however, had
not, as yet, lost vigor, temperance, and ambition, and still continued
to furnish troops unexampled for discipline and bravery, and bent on
conquest and dominion.

The Turkish power received no great checks until the reign of
Mohammed IV., during which Sobieski defeated an immense army, which
had laid siege to Vienna. By the peace of Carlovitz, in 1699,
Transylvania was ceded to the Emperor of Germany, and a barrier was
raised against Mohammedan invasion.

The Russians, from the time of Peter the Great, looked with great
jealousy on the power of the sultan, and several wars were the result.
No Russian sovereign desired the humiliation of the Porte more than
Catharine II. A bloody contest ensued, signalized by the victories of
Galitzin, Suwarrow, Romanzoff, and Orloff, by which Turkey became a
second class power, no longer feared by the European states.

[Sidenote: Decline of Turkish Power.]

From the peace of Carlovitz, the decline of the Ottoman empire has
been gradual, but marked, owing to the indifference of the Turks to
all modern improvements, and a sluggish, conservative policy, hostile
to progress, and sceptical of civilization. The Turks have ever been
bigoted Mohammedans, and hostile to European influences. The Oriental
dress has been preserved in Constantinople, and all the manners and
customs of the people are similar to what they were in Asia several
centuries ago.

[Sidenote: Turkish Institutions.]

One of the peculiarities of the Turkish government, in the most
flourishing period of its history, was the institution of the
Janizaries--a guard of soldiers, to whom was intrusted the
guardianship of the sultan, and the protection of his capital. When
warlike and able princes were seated on the throne, this institution
proved a great support to the government; but when the reins were held
by effeminate princes, the Janizaries, like the Prætorian Guards of
Rome, acquired an undue ascendency, and even deposed the monarchs whom
they were bound to obey. They were insolent, extortionate, and
extravagant, and became a great burden to the state. At first they
were brave and resolute; but they gradually lost their skill and their
courage, were uniformly beaten in the later wars with the Russians,
and retained nothing of the soldier but the name. Mahmoud II., in our
own time, succeeded in dissolving this dangerous body, and in
introducing European tactics into his army.

[Sidenote: Turkish Character.]

The Turkish institutions have reference chiefly to the military
character of the nation. All Mussulmans, in the eye of the law, are
soldiers, to whom the extension of the empire and the propagation of
their faith were the avowed objects of warfare. They may be regarded,
wherever they have conquered, as military colonists, exercising great
tyranny, and treating all vanquished subjects with contempt. The
government has ever been a pure despotism, and both the executive and
legislative authorities have been vested in the sultan. He is the sole
fountain of honor; for, in Turkey, birth confers no privilege. His
actions are regarded as prescribed by an inevitable fate, and his
subjects suffer with resignation. The evils of despotism are
aggravated by the ignorance and effeminacy of those to whom power is
intrusted, although the grand vizier, who is the prime minister of the
empire, is generally a man of great experience and talent. All the
laws of the country are founded upon the precepts of the Koran, the
example of Mohammed, the precepts of the four first caliphs, and the
decision of learned doctors upon disputed cases. Justice is
administered promptly, but without much regard to equity or mercy; and
the course of the grand vizier is generally marked with blood. The
character of the people partakes of the nature of their government,
religion, and climate. They are arrogant, ignorant, and austere;
passing from devotion to obscenity; fastidiously abstemious in some
things, and grossly sensual in others. They have cherished the virtues
of hospitality, and are fond of conversation but their domestic life
is spent in voluptuous idleness, and is dull and insipid compared with
that of Europeans. But the Turks have degenerated. In the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries, they were simple, brave, and religious. They
founded an immense empire on the ruins of Asiatic monarchies, and
filled the world with the terror of their arms. For two hundred years
their power has been retrograding, and there is much reason now to
believe that a total eclipse of their glory is soon to take place.

       *       *       *       *       *

     REFERENCES.--See Knolle's History of Turkey. Eton's Survey
     of the Turkish Empire. Upham's History of the Ottoman
     Empire. Encyclopædia Britannica. Heeren's Modern History.
     Madden's Travels in Turkey. Russell's Modern Europe. Life of
     Catharine II.



Great subjects were discussed in England, and great events happened in
America, during the latter years of the reigns of Frederic II.,
Catharine II., and Maria Theresa. These now demand attention.

[Sidenote: Military Successes in America.]

George III. ascended the throne of Great Britain at a period of
unparalleled prosperity, when the English arms were victorious in all
parts of the world, and when commerce and the arts had greatly
enriched his country and strengthened its political importance. By the
peace of Paris, (1763,) the dominions of George III. were enlarged,
and the country over which he reigned was the most powerful in Europe.

Mr. George Grenville succeeded the Earl of Bute as the prime minister
of the king, and he was chiefly assisted by the Earls of Egremont and
Halifax. His administration was signalized by the prosecution of
Wilkes, and by schemes for the taxation of the American colonies.

Mr. Wilkes was a member of parliament, but a man of ruined fortunes
and profligate morals. As his circumstances were desperate, he applied
to the ministry for some post of emolument; but his application was
rejected. Failure enraged him, and he swore revenge, and resolved to
libel the ministers, under the pretext of exercising the liberty of
the press. He was editor of the North Briton, a periodical publication
of some talent, but more bitterness. In the forty-fifth number, he
assailed the king, charging him with a direct falsehood. The charge
should have been dismissed with contempt; for it was against the
dignity of the government to refute an infamous slander. But, in an
evil hour, it was thought expedient to vindicate the honor of the
sovereign; and a warrant was therefore issued against the editor,
publisher, and printer of the publication. The officers of the law
entered Wilkes's house late one evening, seized his papers, and
committed him to the Tower. He sued out a writ of habeas corpus, in
consequence of which he was brought up to Westminster Hall. Being a
member of parliament, and a man of considerable abilities and
influence, his case attracted attention. The judges decided that his
arrest was illegal, since a member of parliament could not be
imprisoned except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace. He had
not committed any of these crimes, for a libel had only a _tendency_
to disturb the peace. Still, had he been a private person, his
imprisonment would have been legal; but being unconstitutional, he was
discharged. Lord Chief Justice Pratt gained great popularity by his
charge in favor of the liberation of Wilkes, and ever nobly defended
constitutional liberty. He is better known as Lord Camden, the able
lord chancellor and statesman during a succeeding administration, and
one of the greatest lawyers England has produced, ranking with Lord
Hardwicke, Lord Ellenborough, and Lord Eldon.

[Sidenote: Prosecution of Wilkes.]

After the discharge of Wilkes, the attorney-general was then ordered
to commence a state prosecution, and he was arraigned at the bar of
the House of Commons. It was voted, by a great majority, that the
forty-fifth number of the North Briton was a scandalous and seditious
libel, and tending to excite traitorous insurrections. It was further
voted that the paper should be burned by the common hangman. Wilkes
then complained to the House of a breach of privilege, which
complaint, being regular, was considered. But the Commons decided that
the privilege of parliament does not extend to a libel, which
resolution was against the decision of the Court of Common Pleas, and
the precedents upon record in their own journals. However scandalous
and vulgar the vituperation of Wilkes, and especially disgraceful in a
member of parliament, still his prosecution was an attack on the
constitution. Wilkes was arrested on what is called a _general
warrant_, which, if often resorted to, would be fatal to the liberties
of the people. Many, who strongly disliked the libeller, still
defended him in this instance, among whom were Pitt, Beckford, Legge,
Yorke, and Sir George Saville. But party spirit and detestation of
Wilkes triumphed over the constitution, and the liberties of members
of parliament were abridged even by themselves. But Wilkes was not
discouraged, and immediately brought an action, in Westminster Hall,
against the Earl of Halifax, the secretary of state, for seizing his
papers, and, after a hearing of fifteen hours, before Lord Chief
Justice Pratt and a special jury, obtained a verdict in his favor of
one thousand pounds damages and costs.

While the Commons were prosecuting Wilkes for a libel, the Lords also
continued the prosecution. Wilkes, in conjunction with Potter, a
dissipated son of Archbishop Potter, during some of their bacchanalian
revels, had written a blasphemous and obscene poem, after the model of
Pope's Essay on Man, called _An Essay on Woman_. The satire was not
published, but a few copies of it were printed privately for the
authors. Lord Sandwich had contrived to secure a copy of it, and read
it before the House; and the Lords, indignant and disgusted, voted an
address to the king to institute a prosecution against the author. The
Lords, by so doing, departed from the dignity of their order, and
their ordinary functions, and their persecution served to strengthen,
instead of weaken, the cause of Wilkes.

[Sidenote: Churchill.]

Associated with him, in his writings and his revels, was the poet
Churchill, a clergyman of the Establishment, but as open a contemner
of decency as Wilkes himself. For some years, his poetry had proved as
bad as his sermons, his time being spent in low dissipation. An
ill-natured criticism on his writings called forth his energies, and
he started, all at once, a giant in numbers, with all the fire of
Dryden and all the harmony of Pope. Imagination, wit, strength, and
sense, were crowded into his compositions; but he was careless of both
matter and manner, and wrote just what came in his way. "This
bacchanalian priest," says Horace Walpole, "now mouthing patriotism,
and now venting libertinism, the scourge of bad men, and scarce better
than the worst, debauching wives, and protecting his gown by the
weight of his fist, engaged with Wilkes in his war on the Scots, and
set himself up as the Hercules that was to cleanse the state and
punish its oppressors. And true it is, the storm that saved us was
raised in taverns and night-cellars; so much more effectual were the
orgies of Churchill and Wilkes than the dagger of Cato and Brutus.
Earl Temple joined them in mischief and dissipation, and whispered
where they might find torches, though he took care never to be seen to
light one himself. This triumvirate has even made me reflect that
nations are most commonly saved by the worst men in them. The virtuous
are too scrupulous to go the lengths which are necessary to rouse the
people against their tyrants."

[Sidenote: Grafton's Administration.]

The ferment created by the prosecution of Wilkes led to the
resignation of Mr. Grenville, in 1765, and the Marquis of Rockingham
succeeded him as head of the administration. He continued, however,
the prosecution. He retained his place but a few months, and was
succeeded by the Duke of Grafton, the object of such virulent
invective in the Letters of Junius, a work without elevation of
sentiment, without any appeal to generous principle, without
recognition of the eternal laws of justice, and without truthfulness,
and yet a work which produced a great sensation, and is to this day
regarded as a masterpiece of savage and unscrupulous sarcasm. The Duke
of Grafton had the same views as his predecessor respecting Wilkes,
who had the audacity, notwithstanding the sentence of outlawry which
had been passed against him, to return from Paris, to which he had,
for a time, retired, and to appear publicly at Guildhall, and offer
himself as a candidate for the city of London. He was contemptuously
rejected, but succeeded in being elected as member for Middlesex

Mr. Wilkes, however, recognizing the outlawry that had been passed
against him, surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the Court of
the King's Bench, which was then presided over by Lord Mansfield. This
great lawyer and jurist confirmed the verdicts against him, and
sentenced him to pay a fine of one thousand pounds, to suffer two
years' imprisonment, and to find security for good behavior for seven
years. This sentence was odious and severe, and the more unjustifiable
in view of the arbitrary and unprecedented alteration of the records
on the very night preceding the trial.

[Sidenote: Popularity of Wilkes.]

The multitude, enraged, rescued their idol from the officers of the
law, as they were conducting him to prison, and carried him with
triumph through the city; but, through his entreaties, they were
prevailed upon to abstain from further acts of outrage. Mr. Wilkes
again surrendered himself, and was confined in prison. When the
Commons met, Wilkes was again expelled, in order to satisfy the
vengeance of the court. But the electors of Middlesex again returned
him to parliament, and the Commons voted that, being once expelled, he
was incapable of sitting, even if elected, in the same parliament. The
electors of Middlesex, equally determined with the Commons, chose him,
for a third time, their representative; and the election, for the
third time, was declared void by the commons. In order to terminate
the contest, Colonel Lutterell, a member of the House, vacated his
seat, and offered himself a candidate for Middlesex. He received two
hundred and ninety-six votes, and Wilkes twelve hundred and
forty-three, but Lutterell was declared duly elected by the Commons,
and took his seat for Middlesex.

This decision threw the whole nation into a ferment, and was plainly
an outrage on the freedom of elections; and it was so considered by
some of the most eminent men in England, even by those who despised
the character of Wilkes. Lord Chatham, from his seat, declared "that
the laws were despised, trampled upon, destroyed; those laws which had
been made by the stern virtues of our ancestors, those iron barons of
old, to whose spirit in the hour of contest, and to whose fortitude in
the triumph of victory, the silken barons of this day owe all their
honors and security."

Mr. Wilkes subsequently triumphed; the Commons grew weary of a contest
which brought no advantage and much ignominy, and the prosecution was
dropped; but not until the subject of it had been made Lord Mayor of
London. From 1768 to 1772, he was the sole unrivalled political idol
of the people, who lavished on him all in their power to bestow. They
subscribed twenty thousand pounds for the payment of his debts,
besides gifts of plate, wine, and household goods. Every wall bore his
name and every window his picture. In china, bronze, or marble, he
stood upon the chimney-pieces of half the houses in London, and he
swung from the sign-board of every village, and every great road in
the environs of the metropolis. In 1770 he was discharged from his
imprisonment, in 1771 was permitted to take his seat, and elected
mayor. From 1776, his popularity declined, and he became involved in
pecuniary difficulties. He, however, emerged from them, and enjoyed a
quiet office until his death (1797.) He was a patriot from accident,
and not from principle, and corrupt in his morals; but he was a
gentleman of elegant manners and cultivated taste. He was the most
popular political character ever known in England; and his name, at
one time, was sufficient to blow up the flames of sedition, and excite
the lower orders to acts of violence bordering on madness.

[Sidenote: Taxation of the Colonies.]

During his prosecution, important events occurred, of greater moment
to the world. The disputes about the taxation of America led to the
establishment of a new republic, whose extent and grandeur have never
been equalled, and whose future greatness cannot well be exaggerated.

These disputes commenced during the administration of George
Grenville. The proposal to tax the American colonies had been before
proposed to Sir Robert Walpole, but this prudent and sagacious
minister dared not run the risk. Mr. Grenville was not, however,
daunted by the difficulties and dangers which the more able Walpole
regarded. In order to lighten the burden which resulted from the
ruinous wars of Pitt, the minister proposed to raise a revenue from
the colonies. The project pleased the house, and the Stamp Duties were
imposed. It is true that the tax was a light one, and was so regarded
by Mr. Grenville; but he intended it as a precedent; he was resolved
to raise a revenue from the colonies sufficiently great to lighten the
public burden. He regarded the colonists as subjects of the King of
Great Britain, in every sense of the word; and, since they received
protection from the government, they were bound to contribute to its

[Sidenote: Indignation of the Colonies.]

But the colonists, now scattered along the coast from Maine to
Georgia, took other views. They maintained that, though subject in
some degree to English legislation, they could not be taxed, any more
than other subjects of Great Britain, without their consent. They were
willing to be ruled in accordance with those royal charters which had,
at different times, been given them. They were even willing to assist
the mother country, which they loved and revered, and with which were
connected their brightest and most cherished associations, in
expelling its enemies from adjoining territories, and to fight battles
in its defence. They were willing to receive the literature, the
religion, the fashions, and the opinions of their brethren in England.
But they looked upon the soil which they cultivated in the wilderness
with so many difficulties, hardships, and dangers, as their own, and
believed that they were bound to raise taxes only to defend the soil,
and promote good government, religion, and morality in their midst.
But they could not understand why they were bound to pay taxes to
support English wars on the continent of Europe. It was for their
children, and for the sacred privilege of religious liberty, that they
had originally left the mother country. It was only for themselves and
their children that they felt bound to labor. They sought no political
influence in England. They did not wish to control elections, or
regulate the finances, or interfere with the projects of military
aggrandizement. They were not represented in the English parliament,
and they composed, politically speaking, no part of the English
nation. Great, therefore, was their indignation, when they learned
that the English government was interfering with their chartered
rights, and designed to raise a revenue from them to lighten taxes at
home, merely to support the government in foolish wars. If they could
be taxed, without their consent, in any thing, they could be taxed
without limit; and they would be in danger of becoming mere slaves of
the mother country, and be bound to labor for English aggrandizement.
On one point they insisted with peculiar earnestness--that taxation,
in a free country, without a representation of interests in
parliament, was an outrage. It was on account of this arbitrary
taxation that Charles I. lost his crown, and the second revolution was
effected, which placed the house of Hanover on the throne. The
colonies felt that, if the subjects of the king at home were justified
in resisting unlawful taxes, they surely, on another continent, and
without a representation, had a right to do so also; that, if they
were to be taxed without their consent, they would be in a worse
condition than even the people of Ireland; would be in the condition
of a conquered people, without the protection which even a conquered
country enjoyed. Hence they remonstrated, and prepared themselves for

[Sidenote: The Stamp Act.]

The English government was so blinded as not to perceive or feel the
force of the reasoning of the colonists, and obstinately resolved to
resort to measures which, with a free and spirited people, must
necessarily lead to violence and strife. The House of Commons would
not even hear the reports of the colonial agents, but proceeded, with
strange infatuation and obstinate bigotry, to impose the Stamp Act,
(1765.) There were some, however, who perceived its folly and
injustice. General Conway protested against the assumed right of the
government, and Colonel Barré, a speaker of great eminence, exclaimed,
in reply to the speech of Charles Townshend, who styled the colonies
"children planted by our care, and nourished by our indulgence,"--"They
planted by your care!--No! your oppressions planted them in America;
they fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated wilderness, exposed
to all the hardships to which human nature is liable! They nourished
by your indulgence!--No! they grew by your neglect; your _care_ of
them was displayed in sending persons to govern them who were the
deputies of deputies of ministers--men whose behavior, on many
occasions, has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil
within them; men who have been promoted to the highest seats of
justice in a foreign country, in order to escape being brought to the
bar of a court of justice in their own." Mr. Pitt opposed the fatal
policy of Grenville with singular eloquence; by arguments which went
beyond acts of parliament; by an appeal to the natural reason; and by
recognition of the great, inalienable principles of liberty. He
maintained that the House had _no right_ to lay an internal tax upon
America, _that country not being represented_. Burke, too, then a new
speaker, raised his voice against the folly and injustice of taxing
the colonies; but it was in vain. The commons were bent on imposing
the Stamp Act.

But the passage of this act created great disturbances in America, and
was every where regarded as the beginning of great calamities.
Throughout the colonies there was a general combination to resist the
stamp duty; and it was resolved to purchase no English manufactures,
and to prevent the adoption of stamped paper.

Such violent and unexpected opposition embarrassed the English
ministry; which, in addition to the difficulties attending the
prosecution of Wilkes, led to the retirement of Grenville, who was
succeeded by the Marquis of Rockingham. During his short
administration, the Stamp Act was repealed, although the Commons still
insisted on their right to tax America. The joy which this repeal
created in the colonies was unbounded; and the speech of Pitt, who
proposed the repeal, and defended it with unprecedented eloquence, was
every where read with enthusiasm, and served to strengthen the
conviction, among the leading men in the colonies, that their cause
was right. Lord Rockingham did not long remain at the head of the
government, and was succeeded by the Duke of Grafton; although Mr.
Pitt, recently created Earl of Chatham, was virtually the prime
minister. Lord Rockingham retired from office with a high character
for pure and disinterested patriotism, and without securing place,
pension, or reversion, to himself or to any of his adherents.

[Sidenote: Lord Chatham.]

The elevation of Lord Chatham to the peerage destroyed his popularity
and weakened his power. No man ever made a greater mistake than he did
in consenting to an apparent elevation. He had long been known and
designated as the _Great Commoner_. The people were proud of him and,
as a commoner, he could have ruled the nation, in spite of all
opposition. No other man could have averted the national calamities.
But, as a peer, he no longer belonged to the people, and the people
lost confidence in him, and abandoned him. What he gained in dignity
he lost in power and popularity. The people now compared him with Lord
Bath, and he became the object of universal calumny.

And Chatham felt the change which had taken place in the nation. He
had ever loved and courted popularity, and that was the source of his
power. He now lost his spirits, and interested himself but little in
public affairs. He relapsed into a state of indolence and apathy. He
remained only the shadow of a mighty name; and, sequestered in the
groves of his family residence, ceased to be mentioned by the public.
He became melancholy, nervous, and unfit for business. Nor could he be
induced to attend a cabinet council, even on the most pressing
occasions. He pretended to be ill, and would not hold conference with
his colleagues. Nor did he have the influence with the king which he
had a right to expect. Being no longer beloved by the people, he was
no longer feared by the king. He was like Samson when deprived of his
locks--without strength; for his strength lay in the confidence and
affections of the nation. He opposed his colleagues in their
resolution to impose new taxes on America, but his counsels were

These taxes were in the shape of duties on glass, paper, lead, and
painters' colors, from which no considerable revenue could be gained,
and much discontent would inevitably result. When the news of this new
taxation reached the colonies, it destroyed all the cheerfulness which
the repeal of the Stamp Act had caused. Sullenness and gloom returned.
Trust in parliament was diminished. New combinations of opposition
were organized, and the newspapers teemed with invective.

In the midst of these disturbances, Lord Chatham resigned the Privy
Seal, the office he had selected, and retired from the administration,

[Sidenote: Administration of Lord North.]

In 1770, the Duke of Grafton also resigned his office as first lord of
the treasury, chiefly in consequence of the increasing difficulties
with America; and Lord North, who had been two years chancellor of the
exchequer, took his place. He was an amiable and accomplished
nobleman, and had many personal friends, and few personal enemies; but
he was unfit to manage the helm of state in the approaching storm.

It was his misfortune to be minister in the most unsettled and
revolutionary times, and to misunderstand not merely the spirit of the
age, but the character and circumstances of the American colonies.
George III., with singular obstinacy and blindness, sustained the
minister against all opposition; and under his administration the
American war was carried on, which ended so disastrously to the mother

As this great and eventful war will be the subject of the next
chapter, the remaining events of interest, connected with the domestic
history of England, will be first presented.

The most important of these were the discontents of the Irish.

As early as 1762, associations of the peasantry were formed with a
view to political reforms and changes, and these popular
demonstrations of the discontented have ever since marked the history
of the Irish nation--ever poor, ever oppressed, ever on the eve of

[Sidenote: Functions of the Parliament.]

The first circumstance, however, after the accession of George III.,
which claims particular notice, was the passing of the Octennial Bill,
in 1788. The Irish parliament, unlike the English, continued in
existence during the life of the sovereign. In 1761, an attempt had
been made by the patriotic party to limit its duration, and to place
it upon the same footing as the parliament of England; but this did
not succeed. Lord Townshend, at this period, was lord lieutenant, and
it was the great object of his government to break the power of the
Irish aristocracy, and to take out of their hands the distribution of
pensions and places, which hitherto had, from motives of policy, been
allowed them. He succeeded in his object, though by unjustifiable
means, and the British government became the source of all honor and
emolument. During his administration, some disturbances broke out in
Ulster, in consequence of the system which then prevailed of letting
land on fines. As a great majority of the peasantry and small farmers
were unable to pay these fines, and were consequently deprived of
their farms, they became desperate, and committed violent outrages on
those who had taken their lands. Government was obliged to resort to
military force, and many distressed people were driven to America for
subsistence. To Ireland there appeared no chance of breaking the
thraldom which England in other respects also exercised, when the
American war broke out. This immediately changed the language and
current of the British government in reference to Ireland; proposals
were made favorable to Irish commerce; and some penal statutes against
Catholics were annulled. Still the patriots of Ireland aimed at much
greater privileges than had as yet been granted, and the means to
secure these were apparent. England had drawn from Ireland nearly all
the regular forces, in order to send them to America, and the
sea-coast of Ireland was exposed to invasion. In consequence of the
defenceless state of the country, the inhabitants of the town of
Belfast, in 1779, entered into armed associations to defend themselves
in case of necessity. This gave rise to a system of volunteers, which
soon was extended over the island. The Irish now began to feel their
strength; and even Lord North admitted, in the House of Commons, the
necessity of granting to them still greater privileges, and carried a
bill through parliament, which removed some grievous commercial
restrictions. But the Irish looked to greater objects, and especially
since Lord North, in order to carry his bill, represented it as a boon
resumable at pleasure, rather than as a right to which the Irish were
properly entitled. This bill, therefore, instead of quieting the
patriots, led to a desire for an independent parliament of their own.
A union was formed of volunteers to secure this end, not composed of
the ignorant peasantry, but of all classes, at the head of which was
the Duke of Leinster himself. In 1781, this association of volunteers
had a force of fifty thousand disciplined men; and it moreover formed
committees of correspondence, which naturally alarmed the British

These and other disturbances, added to the disasters in America,
induced the House of Commons to pass censure on Lord North and his
colleague, as incapable of managing the helm of state. The king,
therefore, was compelled to dismiss his ministers, whose
administration had proved the most disastrous in British annals. Lord
North, however, had uncommon difficulties to contend with, and might
have governed the nation with honor in ordinary times. He resigned in
1782, four years after the death of Chatham, and the Marquis of
Buckingham, a second time, was placed at the head of the government.
Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke also obtained places, and the Whigs were once
more triumphant.

[Sidenote: Irish Discontents.]

The attention of the new ministry was imperatively demanded by the
discontents in Ireland, and important concessions were made. Mr.
Grattan moved an address to the king, which was unanimously carried in
both Houses, in which it was declared that "the crown of Ireland was
inseparably annexed to the crown of Great Britain; but that the
kingdom of Ireland was a distinct kingdom, with a parliament of her
own, the sole legislature thereof; that in this right they conceived
the very essence of their liberty to exist; that in behalf of all the
people of Ireland, they claimed this as their birthright, and could
not relinquish it but with their lives; that they had a high
veneration for the British character; and that, in sharing the freedom
of England, it was their determination to share also her fate, and to
stand and fall with the British nation." The new lord lieutenant, the
Duke of Portland, assured the Irish parliament that the British
legislature had resolved to remove the cause of discontent, and a law
was actually passed which placed the Irish parliament on the same
footing as that of England. Acts were also passed for the right of
habeas corpus, and for the independence of the judges.

The volunteers, having accomplished the objects which they originally
contemplated, did not, however, disband, but now directed their
efforts to a reform in parliament. But the House of Commons rejected
the proposition offered by Mr. Flood, and the convention, appointed by
the volunteers, indefinitely adjourned without persevering, as it
should have done. The volunteer system soon after declined.

The cause of parliamentary reform, though no longer supported by the
volunteers in their associate character, was not deserted by the
people, or by their advocates in parliament. Among these advocates was
William Pitt himself. But in 1783, he became prime minister, and
changed his opinions.

[Sidenote: Protestant Association.]

But before the administration of Pitt can be presented, an event in
the domestic history of England must be alluded to, which took place
during the administration of Lord North. This was the Protestant
Association, headed by Lord George Gordon, and the riots to which it

[Sidenote: Lord George Gordon's Riots.]

In 1780, parliament had passed an act relieving Roman Catholics from
some of the heavy penalties inflicted on them in the preceding
century. It relieved bishops, priests, and schoolmasters from
prosecution and imprisonment, gave security to the rights of
inheritance, and permission to purchase lands on fee simple. This act
of toleration was generally opposed in England; but the fanatical
spirit of Presbyterianism in Scotland was excited in view of this
reasonable indulgence, to a large body of men, of the rights of
conscience and civil liberty. On the bare rumor of the intended
indulgence, great tumults took place in Edinburgh and Glasgow; the
Roman Catholic chapel was destroyed, and the houses of the principal
Catholics were attacked and plundered. Nor did the magistracy check or
punish these disorders with any spirit, but secretly favored the
rioters. Encouraged by the indifference of the magistrates, the
fanatics formed themselves into a society called the _Protestant
Association_, to oppose any remission of the present unjust laws; and
of this association Lord George Gordon was chosen president. He was
the son of the Duke of Gordon, belonging to one of the most ancient of
the Scottish nobility, but a man in the highest degree wild and
fanatical. He was also a member of parliament, and opposed the views
of the most enlightened statesmen of his time, and with an
extravagance which led to the belief that he was insane. He
calumniated the king, defied the parliament, and boasted of the number
of his adherents. He pretended that he had, in Scotland, one hundred
and sixty thousand men at his command, who would cut off the king's
head, if he did not keep his coronation oath. The enthusiasm of the
Scotch soon spread to the English; and, throughout the country,
associations were affiliated with the parent societies in London and
Edinburgh, of both of which Lord Gordon was president. At Coachmakers'
Hall he assembled his adherents; and, in an incendiary harangue,
inflamed the minds of an immense audience in regard to the Church of
Rome, with the usual invectives respecting its idolatry and
corruption. He urged them to violent courses, as the only way to stop
the torrent of Catholicism which was desolating the land. Soon after,
this association assembled at St. George's Fields, to the astonishing
number of fifty thousand people, marshalled in separate bands, with
blue cockades; and this immense rabble proceeded through the city of
London to the House of Parliament, preceded by a man carrying a
petition signed by twelve hundred thousand names. The rabble took
possession of the lobby of the house, making the old palace ring with
their passionate cries of "No popery! no popery!" This mob was
harangued by Lord Gordon himself, in the lobby of the house, while the
matter was discussed among the members. The military were drawn out,
and the mob was dispersed for a time, but soon assembled again, and
became still more alarming. Houses were plundered, churches were
entered, and the city set on fire in thirty-six different places. The
people were obliged to chalk on their houses "No popery," and pay
contributions to prevent their being sacked. The prisons were emptied
of both felons and debtors. Lord Mansfield's splendid residence was
destroyed, together with his pictures, furniture, and invaluable law
library. Martial law was finally proclaimed--the last resort in cases
of rebellion, and never resorted to but in extreme cases; and the
military did what magistrates could not do--restored order and law.
Had not the city been decreed to be in a state of rebellion, the
rioters would have taken the bank, which they had already attacked.
Five hundred persons were killed in the riot, and