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faith in which he had been bred, and for which so many thousands and tens of thousands of his adherents bad willingly shed their blood; and he reconciled himself to an idolatrous, faithless and persecuting church, at a time when the holocausts of the Inquisition were still snioking, and before the martyrs of St. Bartholomew had inouldered in their graves.
The world had never seen so signal an instance of apostacy. No protestants, however, they miglit strive to excuse the change for the immediate benefit of peace which was obtained by it, could possibly believe that it was the result of conviction; and it needs little reflection to perceive what must necessarily have been the fatal effects of such an example. Swift was of opinion that the best meaus for promoting thie advancement of religion, when piety and morals had fallen to decay, would be by the example and influence of the sovereiga and the government. Thus, indeed, Christianity had been introduced into England, Scotland, Ireland, and the whole North of Europe. The princes were converted, and the people followed the steps of their rulers. Would not the example of disbelief, or at least of making belief subservient to policy and worldly views be followed with even more alacrity ? so it might have been foreseen, and so it was found. The chief persons among the Huguenots, who had at one time nearly divided France, one after another struck into the path of preferment. One thing alone was wanting to complete the depravation, that the morals of the king should be as loose as his faith, and here also the pattern of evil was found. Perhaps there is no other person in history, who with a strong understanding, a good disposition and good intentions, has left so injurious an example to mankind as Henri IV. of France. The effect was seen in the reign of his immediate successor, and more especially during the wars of the Fronde. The religious wars had been atrocious to the last degree, but men were sincere and zealous on both sides, ready to suffer or to inflict death for their principles: Subsequently they shifted sides, like players at a whist-table when the rubber is ended, and carried on hostilities with the same ferocious spirit, when there was scarcely even a profession of principle on either part.
Infidelity had been known in England before it was imported from France, but it had made no progress. Lord Herbert was too much an enthusiast to make proselytes to a system which is fatal to enthusiasm; the elements were not so happily mixed in him as in his saintly brother, but they were the same elements, and such as find no sympathy in vulgar minds. Hobbes bad no taint of licentiousness in his thoughts or habits : while he weakened the restraints of religion, he would have bound faster the chains of human authority. These were not opinions to make their fora. tune in this country. They were addressed to hard heads, and might have suited hard hearts : something light and frothy was wanting, which should flatter the vanity as well as the vices of man, and this was introduced from our neighbours at a tinie when the nation was disgusted with fanaticism and hypocrisy. A philosophy* of home growth soon came to its aid, a superficial philosophy, which, deriving every thing from without, led the way for gross materialismt with all its pernicious consequences,the neces. sary consequences of premises so shallow and so false. and disgraceful a character: so notorions was the bad faith of the English cabinet, that Prince Eugene said to one of our ministers he knew not whether he were speaking to an Englishman or a Frenchman. A charge even of direct corruption is brought against our negociators, and by no light authority, D. Luiz da Cunha, one of the Portugueze ministers at the Congress, asserts, that the reason why Portugal obtained such unfavourable terms was that he had not money to bribe the English ministers, and the Spanish ambassador had.
The prevalence of this spirit is shown by the manner in which Swift attacked it in his Argument to prove that the abolishing of Christianity in England might be attended with some inconveniencies, and perhaps not produce those many good effects proposed thereby.' A fashion of infidelity even at that time when the laws against irreligious publications were enforced, prevailed in the higher and even in the middle classes, among the town wits, the club and coffee-house politicians, and the talkers of the age; this too when frequent changes in church-government had loosened the belief of the people, and when the character of the inferior clergy was, from many causes, at the lowest ebb. How prevalent it had become a generation later, and how low it had sunk, may be seen by Fielding's admirable account of the Robinhoodians, and the fine satire with which he draws from their proceedings the following conclusions, as what' must be allowed by every reader
atele First, that some religion had a kind of establishment among these people.
Secondly, that this religion, whatever it was, could not have the least sway over their morals or practices.
* This subject has been treated with great ability by Mr. Coleridge in l.is Lay, Sermons. See in particular the last note to his Statesmau's Manual.
+ A writer of great erudition and strength of mind, who lived when this miserable philosophy was beginning to show itself in England, distinctly perceived its fatal tendency. Atheism,' he says, ' most commonly lurks in confinio scientiæ et ignorantia. When the minds of men begin to draw those gross earthly vapours of sensual and material speculations by dark and cloudy disputes, they are then most in danger of being benighted in them. There is a natural sense of God, that lodges in the ninds of the lowest and the dnllest sort of vulgar man, which is always roving after him, catching at him, though il cannot lay sure hold on hiin; which works like a natural instinct antecedent to any mature knowledge, as being indeed the first principle of it : and if I were to speak precisely in the mode of the Stoicks, I would rather call it égpeño regàs Toy Beòv, than with Plutarch, dež vánow. But when contentions, disputes, and tiothy reasonings, and contemplations informed by fleshly affections, conversant only about the outside of Nature, begin to rise in men's souls, they may then be in some danger of depressing all those inbred notions of a Deity, and to reason themselves out of their own sense, as the old Sceptics did. And therefore it may be, it might be wished, that some men that have not religion, had had nore superstition to accompany them in their passage froin ignorance to knowledge.' Select Discourses by John Smith, late Fellow of Queen's College in Cambridge. 1660.
Some of these causes are indicated in a former Number. YOL. XVI. NO. xxxii.
391 The peace of Utrecht, with all the complicated treachery and baseness by which it was brought about, was the effect of faction, of that vile party-spirit which has been so often the reproach and the bane of England. The faction which then, for its own sinister purposes, betrayed the interests of Europe did not long enjoy their triumph; the great object of all their machinations was frustrated, and the happiest age of English history began with the accession of the House of Brunswick. The reigns of the first two Georges were disturbed by two rebellions, rashly undertaken, ill-conducted, and too rigorously punished. After the second of these explosions the Jacobites satisfied themselves with indulging their feelings in treasonable songs and toasts; and as the prince to whom they were so faithfully attached happily had no children by the remarkable woman whose life he rendered miserable, their loyalty died a natural death. The last remnant of this unfortunate family was no object of fear or jealousy to the reigning king, he became there. fore an object of dignified compassion. At a time when Buonaparte, renewing the bloody practices of former usurpers, ordered the Duc d'Enghien to midnight execution, the last of the Stuarts received from the King of England an allowance suitable to his
birth and rank. Upon bis decease the Prince Regent gave him a monument; and it will perhaps be recorded in history that this act of honourable and princely feeling was censured as a waste of public money by some of that party who arrogate to themselves exclusively the praise of liberality.
(901194 The present king—an Englishman not only by birth and education, but if ever there was one, by heart and habits also—succeeded to the throne of an united people, which none of his predecessors had done since Henry vill. The Jacobites were now regarded rather as humourists than as a party in the state: their politics were bare
as much out of date as a ruff and fardingale, or a Steenkirk wig. bar The Catholics were quiet and contented; for the vexatious laws under which they lived had been suspended by the spirit of the age, and they were not molested. The Dissenters, enjoying the most full and perfect toleration, were more engaged in controversies among themselves than with the Church. Vigorous counsels had
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raised our military and naval reputation to its old and proper standard. Affairs were quiet at home and prosperous abroad. Our colonies were rapidly increasing in population, wealth and impor. tance. Commerce was more flourishing than ever, arts and manufactures were improving,-a spirit of improvement seemed to characterize the age.
Literature and the fine arts were every where encouraged; scientific voyagers and travellers were sent out by England, France, Spain, Denmark and Russia ; and despotic sovereigns courted the correspondence of men of letters and affected the language of philosophy. But what a philosophy! Alas-they had · forsaken the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out
cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. The moral con. sequences of such philosophy were seen in the private life of
Catherine, and in the first partition of Poland. The purchase and subjugation of Corsica by the French was another proof of the atrocious usurpations which might unblushingly be effected in an age of liberal ideas; and tortures too shocking to be remembered without shuddering, were inflicted upon a poor madman by à court which called itself the most polished in the world, and in a nation which boasted of its humanity and its fine feelings!
In England, notwithstanding all the fair appearances with which the present reign commenced, a spirit of insubordination had long been gaining ground. Steele remarked at the beginning of the century, that the newspapers of this island were as pernicious to weak heads in England as ever books of chivalry to Spain. The temper which they produced was not dangerous in his days, and he regarded it rather as a malady and a misfortune in the individuals, than as an evil to the state; they are considered as lunaties, he gays, and therefore tolerated in their ravings.' During the two preceding reigns the circulation of political writings had been comparatively trifling, and their effect not very great. We had not yet learned to talk of the reading public, or to call ourselves a thinking people. The pamphlets and Aying squibs of the day were above the reach of the multitude, and beneath the notice of the learned; they passed current therefore for as little as they were worth. But a tremendous alteration was now to take place, and the art of popular writing was at the same time carried to perfection and directed to the most mischievous of all purposes. This was accomplished by Junius: the most influential and the most pernicious English writer of his age. The works of other libellers have died with them; and the authors have either sunik into utter contempt, or been remembered only for infamy, but it has been this mai's fate to bave his falsehood, his malignity, and his wickedness overlooked or pardoned because of the skill with which he compounded his poisonous ingredients. He may be considered as