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a moral revolt. It had been not only an insurrection of the laity against the clergy, but also an insurrection of all the branches of the great German race against an alien domination, It is a most significant circumstance that no large society of which the tongue is not Teutonic has ever turned Protestant, and that, wherever a language derived from that of ancient Rome is spoken, the religion of modern Rome, to this, day, prevails. The patriotism of the Irish had taken a peculiar direction. The object of their animosity was not Rome, but England; and they had especial reason to abhor those English sovereigns who had been the chiefs of the great schism, Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth. During the vain struggle which two generations of Milesian princes maintained against the Tudors, religious enthusiasm and national enthusiasm became inseparably blended in the minds of the vanquished race. The new feud of Protestant and Papist inflamed the old feud of Saxon and Celt. The English conquerors, meanwhile, neglected all legitimate means of conversion. No pains were taken to provide the conquered nation with instructors capable of making themselves understood. No translation of the Bible was put forth in the Erse language. The government contented itself with setting up a vast hierarchy of Protestant archbishops, bishops, and rectors, who did nothing, and who, for doing nothing, were paid out of the spoils of a church loved and revered by the great body of the people. There was much in the state both of Scotland and of lreland which might well excite the painful apprehensions of a farsighted statesman. . As yet, however, there was the appearance of tranquillity. For the first time all the British isles were peaceably united under one sceptre. It should seem that the weight of England among European nations ought, from this epoch, to have greatly increased. The territory which her new king governed was, in extent, nearly double that which Elizabeth had inherited. His empire was also the most complete within itself and the most secure from attack that was to be found in the world. The Plantagenets and Tudors had been repeatedly under the necessity of defending themselves against Scotland, while they were engaged in continental war. The long conflict in Ireland had been a severe and perpetual drain on the resources. Yet even under such disadvantages those sovereigns had been highly considered throughout Christendom. It might, therefore, not unreasonably be expected that England,
Scotland, and Ireland combined would form a state second to none that then existed.
All such expectations were strangely disappointed. On the day of the accession of James the First our country descended from the rank which she had hitherto held, and began to be regarded as a power hardly of the second order. During many years the great British monarchy, under four successive princes of the House of Stuart, was scarcely a more important member of the European system than the little kingdom of Scotland had previously been. This, however, is little to be regretted. Of James the First, as of John, it may be said that if his administration had been able and splendid, it would probably have been fatal to our country, and that we owe more to his weaknesses and meannesses than to the wisdom and courage of much better sovereigns. He came to the throne at a critical moment. The time was fast approaching when either the king must become absolute, or the parliament must control the whole executive administration. Had he been, like Henry the Fourth, like Maurice of Nassau, or like Gustavus Adolphus, a valiant, active, and politic ruler, had he put himself at the head of the Protestants of Europe, had he gained great victories over Tilly and Spinola, had he adorned Westminster with the spoils of Bavarian monasteries and Flemish cathedrals, had he hung Austrian and Castilian banners in Saint Paul's, and had he found himself, after great achievements, at the head of fifty thousand troops, brave, well disciplined, and devotedly attached to his person, the English parliament would soon have been nothing more than a name. Happily he was not a man to play such a part. He began his administration by putting an end to the war which had raged during many years between England and Spain; and from that time he shunned hostilities with a caution which was proof against the insults of his neighbors and the clamors of his subjects. Not till the last year of his life could the influence of his son, his favorite, his parliament, and his people combined, induce him to strike one feeble blow in defence of his family and of his religion. It was well for those whom he governed, that he in this matter disregarded their wishes. The effect of his pacific policy was, that in his time no regular troops were needed, and that, while France: Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Germany swarmed with mercenary soldiers, the defence of our island was still confided to the militia.
As the king had no standing army, and did not even attempt to form one, it would have been wise in him to avoid any conflict with his people. But such was his indiscretion, that while he altogether neglected the means which alone could make him really absolute, he constantly put forward, in the most offensive form, claims of which none of his predecessors had ever dreamed. It was at this time that those strange theories which Filmer afterwards formed into a system, and which became the badge of the most violent class of Tories and high churchmen, first emerged into notice. It was gravely maintained that the Supreme Being regarded hereditary monarchy, as opposed to other forms of government, with peculiar favor; that the rule of succession in order of primogeniture was a divine institution, anterior to the Christian, and even to the Mosaic dispensation; that no human power, not even that of the whole legislature, no length of adverse possession, though it extended to ten centuries, could deprive the legitimate prince of his rights; that his authority was necessarily always despotic; that the laws by which, in England and in other countries, the prerogative was limited, were to be regarded merely as concessions which the sovereign had freely made and might at his pleasure resume ; and that any treaty into which a king might enter with his people was merely a declaration of his present intentions, and not a contract of which the performance could be demanded. It is evident that this theory, though intended to strengthen the foundations of government, altogether unsettles them. Did the divine and immutable law of primogeniture admit females or exclude them On either supposition half the sovereigns of Europe must be usurpers, reigning in defiance of the commands of Heaven, and might be justly dispossessed by the rightful heirs. These absurd doctrines received no countenance from the Old Testament; for in the Old Testament we read that the chosen people were blamed and punished for desiring a king, and that they were afterwards commanded to withdraw their allegiance from him. Their whole history, far from favoring the notion that primogeniture is of divine institution, would rather seem to indicate that younger brothers are under the especial protection of Heaven. Isaac was not the eldest son of Abraham, nor Jacob of Isaac, nor Judah of Jacob, nor David of Jesse, nor Solomon of David. Indeed the order of seniority among children is seldom strictly regarded in countries where polygamy is practised. Neither did the system of Filmer receive any countenance from those passages of the New Testament which describe government as an ordinance of God; for the government under which the writers of the New Testament lived was not an hereditary monarchy. The Roman emperors were republican magistrates, named by the Senate. None of them pretended to rule by right of birth; and, in fact, both Tiberius, to whom Christ commanded that tribute should be given, and Nero, whom Paul directed the Romans to obey, were, according to the patriarchal theory of government, usurpers. In the middle ages the doctrine of indefeasible hereditary right would have been regarded as heretical: for it was altogether incompatible with the high pretensions of the Church of Rome. It was a doctrine unknown to the founders of the Church of England. The Homily on Wilful Rebellion had strongly, and indeed too strongly, inculcated submission to constituted authority, but had made no distinction between hereditary and elective monarchies, or between monarchies and republics. . Indeed most of the predecessors of James would, from personal motives, have regarded the patriarchal theory of government with aversion. William Rufus, Henry the First, Stephen, John, Henry the Fourth, Henry the Fifth, Henry the Sixth, Richard the Third, and Henry the Seventh, had all reigned in defiance of the strict rule of descent. A grave doubt hung over the legitimacy both of Mary and of Elizabeth. It was impossible that both Catharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn could have been lawfully married to Henry the Eighth ; and the highest authority in the realm had pronounced that neither was so. The Tudors, far from considering the law of succession as a divine and unchangeable institütion, were constantly tampering with it. Henry the Eighth obtained an act of parliament, giving him power to leave the crown by will, and actually made a will to the prejudice of the royal family of Scotland. Edward the Sixth, unauthorized by parliament, assumed a similar power, with the full approbation of the most eminent Reformers. Elizabeth, conscious that her own title was open to grave objection, and unwilling to admit even a reversionary right in her rival and enemy the Queen of Scots, induced the parliament to pass a law, enacting that whoever should deny the competency of the reigning sovereign, with the assent of the estates of the realm, to alter the succession, should suffer death as a traitor. But the situation of James was widely different from that of Elizabeth. Far inferior to her in abilities and in popularity; regarded by the English as an alien, and excluded from the throne by the testament of Henry the Eighth, the king of Scots was yet the undoubted heir of William the Conqueror and of Egbert. He had, therefore, an obvious interest in inculcating the superstitious notion that birth confers rights anterior to law, and unalterable by law. It was a notion, moreover, well suited to his intellect and temper. It soon found many advocates among those who aspired to his favor, and made rapid progress among the clergy of the Established Church. Thus, at the very moment at which a republican spirit began to manifest itself strongly in the parliament and in the country, the claims of the monarch took a monstrous form, which would have disgusted the proudest and most arbitrary of those who had preceded him on the throne. James was always boasting of his skill in what he called kingcraft; and yet it is hardly possible even to imagine a course more directly opposed to all the rules of kingcraft than that which he followed. The policy of wise rulers has always been to disguise strong acts under popular forms. It was thus that Augustus and Napoleon established absolute monarchies, while the public regarded them merely as eminent citizens invested with temporary magistracies. The policy of James was the direct reverse of theirs. He enraged and alarmed his parliament by constantly telling them that they held their privileges merely during his pleasure, and that they had no more business to inquire what he might lawfully do than what the Deity might lawfully do. Yet he quailed before them, abandoned minister after minister to their vengeance, and suffered them to tease him into acts directly opposed to his strongest inclinations. Thus the indignation excited by his claims and the scorn excited by his concessions went on growing together. By his fondness for worthless minions, and by the sanction which he gave to their tyranny and rapacity, he kept discontent constantly alive. His cowardice, his childishness, his pedantry, his ungainly person and manners, his provincial accent made him an object of derision. Even in his virtues and accomplishments there was something eminently unkingly. Thus, during the whole course of his reign, all the venerable associations by which the throne had long been fenced, were gradually losing their strength. During two hundred years all the sovereigns who had ruled England, with