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nished a moral to Europe by the continuance of his success, the other by the prodigiousness of his fall. A fresh resemblance arose afterwards, when the restoration of those royal families, whom their ascendant had kept under, revived ancient animosities, and excited new ones; those who from love of democratical liberty had borne the most deadly hatred to the apostates who had betrayed it, recovering some affection to their memory, out of aversion to a common enemy. Our English Republicans have, with some exceptions, displayed a sympathy for the name of Cromwell; and I need not observe how remarkably this holds good in the case of his mighty parallel.
ESTIMATE OF THE REVOLUTION OF 1688.
The great event of what has been emphatically denominated in the language of our public acts the Glorious Revolution, stands in need of no vulgar credulity, no mistaken prejudice for its support. It can only rest on the basis of a liberal theory of government, which looks to the public good as the great end for which positive laws and the constitutional order of states have been instituted. It cannot be defended without rejecting the slavish principles of absolute obedience, or even that pretended modification of them which imagines some extreme case of intolerable tyranny, some, as it were, lunacy of despotism, as the only plea and palliation of resistance. Doubtless the administration of James II. was not of this nature. Doubtless he was not a Caligula, or a Commodus, or an Ezzelin, or a Galeazzo Sforza, or a Christiern II. of Denmark, or a Charles IX. of France, or one of those almost innumerable tyrants whom men have endured in the wantonness of unlimited power. No man had been deprived of his liberty by any illegal warrant. No man, except in the single though very important instance of Magdalen College, had been despoiled of his property. I must also add that the government of James II. will lose little by comparison with that of his father. The judgment in favour of his prerogative to dispense with the test was far more according to received notions (147)
of law, far less injurious and unconstitutional, than that which gave a sanction to ship-money. The injunction to read the declaration of indulgence in churches was less offensive to scrupulous men than the similar command to read the declaration of Sunday sports in the time of Charles I. Nor was any one punished for a refusal to comply with the one; while the prisons had been filled with those who had disobeyed the other. Nay, what is more, there are much stronger presumptions of the father's than of the son's intention to lay aside Parliaments, and set up an avowed despotism. It is indeed amusing to observe that many who scarcely put bounds to their eulogies of Charles I., have been content to abandon the cause of one who had no faults in his public conduct but such as seemed to have come by inheritance. The characters of the father and son were very closely similar: both proud of their judyment as well as of their station, and still more obstinate in their understanding than in their purpose ; both scrupulously conscientious in certain great points of conduct, to the sacrifice of that power which they had preferred to everything else; the one far superior in relish for the arts and for polite letters, the other more diligent and indefatigable in business; the father exempt from those vices of a court to which the son was too long addicted—not so harsh, perhaps, or prone to severity in his temper, but inferior in general sincerity and adherence to his word. They were both equally unfitted for the condition in which they were meant to stand—the limited kings of a wise and free people, the chiefs of the English commonwealth.
The most plausible argument against the necessity of so violent a remedy for public grievances as the abjuration of allegiance to a reigning sovereign, was one that misled half the nation in that age, and is still sometimes insinuated by those whose pity for the misfortunes of the House of Stuart appears to predominate over every other sentiment which the history of the Revolution should excite. It was alleged that the constitutional mode of redress by Parliament was not taken away; that the King's attempts to obtain promises of support from the electors and probable representatives showed his intention of calling one; that the writs were, in fact, ordered before the Prince of Orange's expedition; that after the invader had reached London, James still offered to refer the terms of reconciliation with his people to a free Parliament, though he could have no hope of evading any that might be proposed ; that by reversing illegal judgments, by annulling unconstitutional dispensations, by reinstating those who had been unjustly dispossessed, by punishing wicked advisers, above all, by passing statutes to restrain the excesses, and cut off the dangerous prerogatives of the monarchy (as efficacious, or more so, than the Bill of Rights and other measures that followed the Revolution), all risk of arbitrary power, or of injury to the established religion, might have been prevented without a violation of that hereditary right which was as fundamental in the Constitution as any of the subjects' privileges. It was not necessary to enter upon the delicate problem of absolute non-resistance, or to deny that the conservation of the whole was paramount to all positive laws. The question to be proved was, that a regard to this general safety exacted the means employed in the Revolution, and constituted that extremity which could alone justify such a deviation from the standard rules of law and religion.
It is evidently true that James had made very little progress, or rather experienced a signal defeat, in his endeavour to place the professors of his own religion on a firm and honourable basis. There seems the strongest reason to believe that, far from reaching his end through the new Parliament, he would have experienced those warm assaults on the administration which generally distinguished the House of Commons under his father and brother. But, as he was in no want of money, and had not the temper to endure what he thought the language of republican faction, we may be equally sure that a short and angry session would have ended with a more decided resolution on his side to govern in future without such impracticable counsellors. The doctrine, imputed of old to Lord Strafford, that, after trying the good will of Parliament in vain, a king was absolved from the legal maxims of government, was always at the heart of the Stuarts. His army was numerous, according, at least, to English notions; he had already begun to fill it with Popish officers and soldiers ; the militia, though less to be depended on, was under the command of lord and deputy lieutenants carefully selected; above all, he would at the last have recourse to France; and though the experiment of bringing over French troops was very hazardous, it is difficult to say that he might not have succeeded, with all these means, in preventing or putting down any concerted insurrection. But, at least, the renewal of civil bloodshed and the anarchy of rebellion seemed to be the alternative of slavery, if William had never earned the just title of our deliverer. It is still more evident that, after the invasion -had taken place, and a general defection had exhibited the King's inability to resist, there could have been no such compromise as the Tories fondly expected, no legal and peaceable settlement in what they called a free Parliament, leaving James in the real and recognized possession of his constitutional prerogatives. Those who have grudged William III. the laurels that he won for our service are ever prone to insinuate that his unnatural ambition would be content with nothing less than the crown, instead of returning to his country after he had convinced the King of the error of his counsels, and obtained securities for the religion and liberties of England. The hazard of the enterprise, and most hazardous it truly was, was to have been his; the profit and advantage our own. I do not know that William absolutely expected to place himself on the throne; because he could hardly anticipate that James would so precipitately abandon a kingdom wherein he was acknowledged, and had still many adherents. But undoubtedly he must, in consistency with his magnanimous designs, have determined to place England in its natural station, as a party in the great alliance against the powers of Louis XIV. To this one object of securing the liberties of Europe, and chiefly of his own country, the whole of his heroic life was directed with undeviating, undisheartened firmness. He had in view no distant prospect, when the entire succession of the Spanish monarchy would be claimed by that insatiable prince, whose renunciation at the Treaty of the Pyrenees was already maintained to be invalid. Against the present aggressions and future schemes of this neighbour the League of Augsburg had just been concluded. England, a free, a Protestant, a maritime kingdom, would, in her natural position, as a rival of France, and deeply concerned in the independence of the Netherlands, become a leading member of this confederacy. But the sinister attachments of the House of Stuart had long diverted her from her true interests, and rendered her councils disgracefully and treacherously subservient to those of Louis. It was therefore the main object of the Prince of Orange to strengthen the alliance by the vigorous co-operation of this kingdom; and with no other view the Emperor, and even the Pope, had abetted his undertaking. But it was impossible to imagine that James would have come with sincerity into measures so repugnant to his predilections and interests. What better could be expected than a recurrence of that false and hollow system which had betrayed Europe and dishonoured England under Charles II. ? or rather, would not the sense of injury and thraldom have inspired still more deadly aversion to the cause of those to whom he must have ascribed his humiliation ? There was as little reason to hope that he would abandon the long cherished schemes of arbitrary power, and the sacred interests of his own faith. We must remember that when the adherents or apologists of James II. have spoken of him as an unfortunately misguided prince, they have insinuated what neither the notorious history of those times, nor the more secret information since brought to light, will in any degree confirm. It was indeed a strange excuse for a kiny of such mature years, and so trained in the most diligent attention to business. That in some particular instances he acted under the influence of his confessor, Petre, is not unlikely; but the general temper of his administration, his notions of government, the objects he had in view, were perfectly his own, and were pursued rather in spite of much dissuasion and many warnings, than through the suggestions of any treacherous counsellors.