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and diverted to the Rhine the armies which could certainly have kept William of Orange at home. Even in the hour of his utmost need, when he was fighting for his throne in Ireland, James rejected with honourable indignation the counsel of those French advisers who would have had him subdue his Protestant subjects by
For his plan to create a standing army, there was a great deal to be said from the purely patriotic standpoint, and the debate upon the subject in the Commons makes interesting reading. It is a question even now hotly debated, whether a professional army or a citizen militia is preferable, as a means of national defence. If England was to make her influence felt in European politics, she must maintain an establishment capable of matching itself against the trained hosts of the Continent. One member, a Sir Winston Churchill, sarcastically remarked that to judge by the speeches of the Opposition, the Beefeaters might be called an army. On the other side, it was urged that the true way of military salvation lay in remodelling the territorial and citizen militia, and in strengthening the navy. The regular soldier was drawn away from useful work, and was apt to get out of hand. Supporting an army is maintaining so many idle persons to lord it over the rest of the subjects." These are arguments that we might hear to-day at the Peace Society, or the Social Democratic Federation. But the opponents of James went further. They knew that a standing army officered by Papists might be used, as the King certainly intended to use it, to crush out, not only their liberties, but their religion. The danger was more apparent than real, for the soldiers proved as ready as any one to sing "Lillibullero" and cheer the Seven Bishops, and they were prepared to pile their arms rather than become the tools of Popish lawlessness.
How James proceeded, with mulish obstinacy, to violate one after another all the dearest prejudices of his subjects, is well known. Divine right was submitted to an unbearable strain when it plainly involved the ruin and enslavement of the country. The last straw was the knowledge that the aboriginal Irish, a hated and despised race, were to be brought over to hold down their masters, the English Protestants. The fear and wrath of the nation found vent in the song which, as its author boasted, sang James out of England; "Lillibullero" had been the cry of the native Irish during the last massacre of the Protestants, and the song purports to be addressed by one Irishman to another :
"Now de heretics all go down,
By Chrish and St. Patrick, de land's our own !
To cut the knot, thus tied, by foreign intervention, was a desperate expedient, and yet it is hard to see what else could have been done. It is strange to think that any Englishman can look back with pride upon what is perhaps the most inglorious revolution ever known. A foreign army marching across England to London; the English troops shamefully betrayed by their own leaders; treachery rampant everywhere, and culminating in the supreme baseness of Churchill; the unnatural conduct of Anne; the cowardice and nervous breakdown of the King himself, present a prospect, which few of us can regard without a blush for our countrymen. Nor is there the same passionate devotion to a cause that ennobles the Puritan revolution. What really happened was that the English Government was changed from a limited monarchy to an almost absolute oligarchy, though the completion of this process was delayed for a generation. The only ennobling and thoroughly satisfactory result was that England was at last able to take her proper place, as the mainstay of the coalition against Louis. But the national spirit was still in need of rousing, and it is not
pleasant to reflect that Englishmen could find relief for their feelings, by rejoicing over the weakness of our arms, in such doggerel as:
"And Berwick, how shall thy dear joys
Resist this famed viaggio ?
Thy tallest sparks will be mere toys
There is, at least, this to be said, that it is doubtful whether any other political arrangement would have produced a better result. The country was sick from lack of faith, never had the moral standard of her public men been so low. It is not likely that princes like James II and his brother would have used their power to remedy social injustice, nor, had a regency of the little Prince been adopted as a solution, would the descent to oligarchy have been in any way checked. Perhaps in default of any respectable native government, it was better to get a competent foreigner to superintend the business. But if, on these grounds, we condone the revolution as a necessity, let us at least refrain from the hypocrisy of characterizing it as glorious.
THE STRUGGLE WITH LOUIS XIV
TRANGE it is that so many historians have pitched upon the Revolution as a proper subject for national or democratic congratulation. As typical of the kind of statement that passes almost without challenge, we may quote from the most distinguished of our economic historians: "The basis on which the whole polity rested was completely altered. The personal rule of the Crown gave place to the power of the people. . . ." A more burlesque travesty of the facts could hardly be conceived, and yet this is hardly an exaggeration of the view generally accepted, not only by the average man, but by historians themselves. It is a striking example of the modern fetish-worship of representative institutions, and the consequent mistaking of words for things.
The power of the people has always been a thing to reckon with in English history. Even the Red King had been fain to avail himself of its support; it had been the strength of Becket. It was by their instinctive sympathy with the mass of their subjects that the Tudors had been able to accomplish their task of nation-building, and Elizabeth spoke the literal truth when she told the Spanish ambassador that she owed her crown to her people. More representative of the national will was she than the most triumphantly elected of modern GovernNeither the polling-booth nor the caucus is a
necessary go-between for the people and the ruler of its choice.
In what respect can the power of the people be said to have been strengthened by the Revolution? It is true that a blow was struck at the divine right of kings, but even this is gravely exaggerated. It is probable that if Anne had been as capable a ruler as Charles II, she might have wielded an equal measure of power. As it was, she was able to mould the complexion of her Parliaments almost to her will, and the most violent popular agitation of her reign was directly favourable to divine right. It was the accession of German George, and not that of Dutch William, which struck the decisive blow at the cause of monarchy.
Whatever may have been the power of the people, it is certain that, after the Restoration, the will of the people was biassed, to a large extent, towards the power of kings. Had Shaftesbury and his faction been supported by the nation, the panic of Oxford would never have taken place, nor would Charles have been able to re-establish his power, with hardly a murmur of protest, on a firmer basis. than before. In truth, the Merry Monarch had to be careful that he did not place himself in too pronounced opposition to the wishes of his subjects; his scheme for re-establishing the Catholic Church was abandoned almost as soon as it was taken up, and he bowed wisely before the scare of the Popish Plot. As it was, that scare came within an ace of dethroning him. Locke himself has pointed out how feeble a safeguard is divine right against popular discontent. "When people are made miserable, says the Whig philosopher," and find themselves exposed to arbitrary power, cry up their governors as much as you will for sons of Jupiter, let them be sacred and divine, descended or authorized from Heaven; give them out for whom or what you please, the same will happen." We must then rid our minds of the prejudice that kings