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were thoroughly ignorant of the people they had to govern; and being ignorant, were too proud, too foolish, or too stupid to learn. One idea had strong possession of all of them - the absurd and insane desire to copy the arbitrary governments of the Continent; and to this object they adhered, in all circumstances, in the face of all obstacles, and in blind defiance of the most palpable perils. Through their individual varieties of character we may trace clearly enough, the symptoms of the family distemper in each. The principles of kingly power which James carried over the Border with him, which his education had planted, and which conceit and Aattery had well watered, ridiculous as they appeared when enshrined in that ungainly, gossipping, pedantic impersonation of divine right, were yet the dangerous beginnings of that debasing element which first degraded, and then, for a time, destroyed the monarchy. It was blended certainly into a more graceful and manly model in Charles the First. He possessed some qualities which might have made him a dangerous and successful despot. But the nation was saved by the hereditary perversity of his mind. He was so absurdly obstinate when he should have yielded—so undecided when promptness alone could have led to success -- and whether in obstinacy or wavering, so openly and needlessly false— that the deep and resolute, though enduring spirit of the nation, was roused before the yoke was bound upon their necks. They were not preserved, however, so much by their own vigilance as by the want of moral strength in their antagonist. It was this fatal defect which alone defeated Strafford's schemes for

thorough ;' and, after his base desertion of his minister, led Charles himself to rush on his own fate. His memory has only been rescued from the contempt it truly deserved, by the immediate antecedents, and the imposing circumstances of his death - which have withdrawn the gaze of posterity from his intolerable offences against the state, to fix it on the audacious and unparalleled expiation exacted for them.

The two last of the race probably combined all the qualities which could bring the kings of a country like this into contempt. But of the two, Charles the Second was much to be preferred. One cannot help having a latent liking for the merry monarch, when we contrast him with his cloudy and dismal brother. He was good-natured, and not fond of cruelty for its own sake, although not scrupulous in its use to secure his objects. He was not habitually treacherous; and he was agreeable. But although he might, in another sphere, have sauntered languidly through life as a not unpopular roué, whose wit was respected at Will's, and

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whose manners were the fashion on the Mall -- what a spectacle does Monarchy present with such a man as its type! Democritus could not have wished for a more congenial spectacle than that of a great nation, with its million hearths and homes —its resources, just beginning to exhibit the dawn of their future magnificence -its proud, free, and enterprising people-indolently trampled under foot by an ungrateful Sybarite, to whom twelve years of exile had taught no lesson, but the desire to recompense, by voluptuous ease, the hardships and crosses of his former fortune - to whom life or death - things light or solemn were all alike a jest — without one manly or kingly thought for his people or his honour - careless, though his empire should crumble into fragments, if only the crash might not disturb his luxurious repose ! Had his nature possessed any solid worth — had it supplied any moral soil whatever in which great deeds or generous sentiments could grow-it might surely have been expected that the strange vicissitudes of his life if he ever reflected on them at all-should have given his childish and volatile disposition something of masculine stability. But for him, as for the rest of his race, experience was written in a character which he could not decipher. When he first rode through the metropolis to Whitehall, along ranks of applauding citizens, while Cavalier and Roundhead shouted in unison, he does not seem to have recognised in that affecting reception the welcome, in his person, of constitutional order, chastised and mellowed by adversity. No reflections on the past struggle - no resolutions of prudence, or justice, or moderation for the future, seem to have suggested themselves for an instant. He lounged back to the palace of his ancestors, as if he had merely returned from a continental tour! and those historic halls told him no tale of his father's fate- nor called up before him the stern and ominous frown of the Protector. He resumed the throne of the Stuarts merely to continue, in unbroken succession, the dynasty, and the perverse policy of his familyneglecting even the very men who had poured out their blood, and lavished their fortunes for his crown. His years were spent as if life were a play in which every one was representing a part for the occasion, and went through their scenes of love or contention, weeping or laughing, merely for the spectators' amusement. Even his death was characteristic of the shallow levity of his mind; when he launched a witty dart at the King of Terrors, and requested his attendants to excuse him for taking 80 unconscionable a time to die!

The gallery of family portraits is completed by that of James the Second, on which Mr. Macaulay has bestowed infinite labour, and which he has drawn with a hand so powerful and unrelenting, that those deeply engraven lineaments will go down to posterity as the standard likeness, as long as English history shall endure. It is certainly a picture in which the artist has not admitted one single tint of flattery. The lines are rigid, hard, and ill-favoured as life; and afford a singular contrast to the apologetic and softened features in which most former historians have presented him. Some may think the colouring too uniformly harsh: but we cannot agree with them. Mr. Macaulay had deep errors to eradicate, and pernicious beresies to dispel; and he judged rightly that this could not be done effectually unless the unvarnished truth were plainly told. The grand object indeed of these two volumes, as we imagine, was to show James the Second in his true colours; and thereby lay a firm foundation for the author's account of the origin, nature, and inevitable necessity of the Revolution. He has certainly torn away the veil from fallen greatness with no gentle hand: but the scene he has disclosed has dispelled the illusion for ever. We admit that for ourselves, ill as we always thought of James the Second, the description has some new and unexpected features. We knew him to have been proud, obstinate, and bigoted; but we always had a vague idea that if he was stupid he was honest, and if bigoted, at least conscientious and sincere. Never, till we read these volumes, had we an adequate conception of the baseness, cruelty, and perfidy which marked his reign. Destitute entirely of the scholarly acquirements of his grandfather, his father's dignity, or his brother's wit, he added to the family failings a love of cruelty, a stolid stonyheartedness, and a rancorous spirit of revenge, of which the worst of his predecessors could not be accused. Haughty, unforgiving, and oppressive in prosperity, without a spark of the more generous and genial elements of kingly power, he was weak, pusillanimous, and cringing when the tide turned. That he was sincere in his desire to establish Popery in this country, we believe; but it was that sort of sincerity which leads unscrupulous men to break through the most sacred ties of humanity and honour for a favourite object. It was a sincerity which rendered him insincere in all but that; a sincerity which, while it was false and bloody on one hand, was short-sighted, blundering, and unintelligent on the other. Had he been possessed of any self-control, or the slightest powers of diplomatic management or address, the points he aimed at might perhaps have been attained. If he had not so openly upheld and promoted Popery, the nation was too sick of the recollection of the Commonwealth, even after twenty years of misgovernment, to have made a strong struggle, in his day, for constitutional freedom. On the other hand, if he had governed with moderation and equity, the nation might gradually have learned to look on Papists and Popery with less abhorrence. Bụt this was not in his nature. With blind animosity he let loose both his packs at once; and the people saw themselves threatened, at the same time, with the bloodhounds of religious and of civil tyranny. Popery sat triumphant at the council board; while the blackest and foulest cruelty raged in the land. Yet the, actual catastrophe was almost entirely attributable to the mingled feelings of distrust, fear, and contempt with which the king was personally regarded; and the infatuation with which his daily conduct added fuel to the smouldering flame. For among the other characteristics of the time, the long forbear, ance of the nation certainly is not the least remarkable. The people who remained inactive while the hideous drama of the Bloody Assizes was acted before their eyes, among whom Jeffries was suffered to judge and to legislate, and Kirke to live, must have been averse indeed to commotion, and slow to change. Even when the crisis came at last — when James had filled up the measure of his folly, the nation still remained calm, and poised, as it were, by its own weight. Not even William of Orange, with deliverance in his hand, could warm it into any show of enthusiasm or exertion ; and James went forth a voluntary fugitive! His fate, and ours, might have been very different had he exhi, bited, even then, any of the moral strength which sometimes makes tyranny respectable when prosperous, and sometimes sustains and retrieves it in misfortune.

Such is the first moral which Mr. Macaulay has elicited from the history of these reigns — with so much truth and vigour, It is true that to enable him to do this with effect, he has found it necessary to dwell on details at considerable length, and to gather instructive fragments of character from various scattered quarters. For ourselves, and, we believe, for most readers, Mr. Macaulay's tediousness, if it can be called so, is less fatiguing than the liveliness of most other writers; and we could let him gossip on about little court stories by the hour, without once wishing him to resume the grave discourse. But all these detached traits are here but the component parts of his tessellated pavement. They go to make up that great historical demonstration which it was his object to construct; and on which, probably, depends the view of our constitutional history which the work, when completed, will be found to illustrate. He could not show with accuracy the impelling motives of the people, without the clearest and most convincing evidence of the character of their kings. For those were days when royalty was the real centre round which the political system revolved, and the power and condition of which regulated all the motions of its machinery. They are therefore but superficial critics who complain, as we have heard some do, of the minute circumstances which he thinks worthy of being recorded by his pen. The general result to which they tend, the great induction which they constitute and compose, comes out so overwhelming and striking at the last, that, in the irresistible conviction then impressed on our minds, we unconsciously forget how great a part of the impression depends on the combination of these slender but numberless characteristics.

But not less admirably and clearly elucidated is the general constitutional lesson, as deduced from the history of the times. Here again we think there is both novelty and unexampled force and impressiveness in our author's views. He has taken a large, sagacious, and practical survey of the political state of the nation during the seventeenth century; and has, as we think, brought his readers to a far more precise and complete appreciation of its actual condition, than any former historian, On onė hand he is not perpetually hunting out the traces of occult constitutional theories, in events which were far more determined by accidental circumstances than by any fancied adherence to general laws. Neither, on the other hand, does he give the slightest countenance to the contemptible accusations which servile writers have of late so plentifully launched at their forefathers. But he enables us to gather, through the troubles which marked those remarkable years, a very clear general apprehension of the causes which affected, and the motives which impelled, the political convulsions of the period.

We have heard it said that the only source of difficulty which the Stuarts experienced in governing was the want

one felt by kings and commoners alike, of ready money. The feudal exactions were over. There were no more monasteries to spoil ; and the wealth which popery had amassed was exhausted. Without taxes, no sinews of war could be had ; and, rather than submit to taxation, the people, it is said, preferred rebellion. They would rather fight than pay. It was, in short, not the folly or perfidy or oppression of kings, but an ignorant impatience of taxation, that plunged the nation in civil war, and drove a dynasty from the throne !

Like many similar views, this is true as far as it goes, but it is only half the truth, or rather a great deal less. It was the want of money, no doubt, which led to the first collision; and perhaps abundance of that rare commodity might hiave prevented it. It may also be said, with some degree of accuracy, that the disinclination to furnish the monarch with

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