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more pleasant country than the England in which we live. It may at first sight seem strange that society, while constantly moving forward with eager speed, should be constantly looking backward with tender regret. But these two propensities, inconsistent as they may appear, can easily be resolved into the same principle. Both spring from out impatience of the state in which we actually are. That impatience, while it stimulates us to surpass preceding generations, disposes us to overrate their happiness. It is, in some sense, unreasonable and ungrateful in us to be constantly discontented with a condition which is constantly improving. But, in truth, there is constant improvement precisely be— cause there is ccnstant discontent. If we were perfectly satisfied with the present, we should cease to contrive, to labour, and to save with a view to the future. And it is natural that, being dissatisfied with the present, we should form a too favourable estimate of the past.
In truth we are under a deception similar to that which misleads the traveller in the Arabian desert. Beneath the caravan all is dry and bare: but far in advance, and far in the rear, is the semblance of refreshing waters. The pilgrims hasten forward and find nothing but sand where, an hour before, they had seen a lake. They turn their eyes and see a lake where, an hour before, they were toiling through sand. A similar illusion seems to haunt nations through every stage of the long progress from poverty and barbarism to the highest degrees of opulence ' and civilisation. But, if we resolutely chase the mirage backward, we shall find it recede before us into the regions of fabulous antiquity. It is now the fashion to place the golden age of England in times when noblemen were destitute of comforts the want of which would be intolerable to a modern footman, when farmers and shopkeepers breakfasted on loaves
the very sight of which would raise a riot in a modern workhouse, when \to have a clean shirt once a week was a. privilege reserved for the higher class of gentry, when men died faster in the purest country air than they now die in the most pestilential lanes of our towns, and when men died faster in the lanes of our towns than they now die on the coast of Guiana. We too shall, in our turn, be outstripped, and in our turn be envied. It may well be, in the twentieth century, that the peasant of Dorsetshire may think himself miserably paid with twenty shillings a week; that the carpenter at Greenwich may receive ten shillings a day; that labouring men may be as little used to dine without meat as they now are to eat rye bread; that sanitary police and medical discoveries may have added several more years to the average length of human life; that numerous comforts and luxuries which are now unknown, or confined to a few, may be within the reach of every diligent and thrifty working man. And yet it may then be the mode to assert that the increase of wealth and the progress of science have benefited the few at the expense of the many, and to talk of the reign of Queen Victoria as the time when England was truly merry England, when all classes were bound together by brotherly sympathy, when the rich did not grind the faces of the poor, and when the poor did not envy the splendour of the rich.
Aanrcun'ruan, state of, in 1685, 322.
Albemarle, George Monk, Duke of ;
Alblgensians; their movement prema-
Aldrich, Henry, Dean of Christchurch,
Alsatia. See Whitefrisrs.
America, Puritan settlements in, 95.
Anne, Princess, afterwards Queen ; edu-
Ansehn, Archbishop, 24.
Aristocracy, English; its character, 88.
His ofiicial gains, 322.
Arminisn controversy, 82.
Arundel, Earl of, 351.
Ashley. See Shaftesbury.
Bacon, Lord ; his philosophy, 421.
Barbary, horses from, 827.
Bsrebone’s Parliament, 189. Ordi'
Barillon, French ambassador ; his in-
Barrow, Isaac, 344.
Bath, 360, 361.
Baxter, Richard; his political works
Becket ; why popular, 24.
Bedford House, 370.
Bedloe; witness in the Popish plot, 24‘
Beer, consumption of, 332.
Bible, cost of (14th century), 46.
Birminghams ; a nickname of Whig
Blake, Robert, 312
Bloomsbury Square, houses in, 370.
Blues, regiment of ; its origin, 806.
Bonrepaux, French envoy to England;
Books, scarcity of, in country places
Booksellers’ shops (London), 408.
Bourbon, House of ; its growing power,
Boyle, Robert, 426.
Bray, Thomas, Life of, 344. note.
Breakspesr. Nicholas, Pope, 24.
Bristol, capture of, by the Royslists, 119.
Britain under the Romans; under the
Browne, Sir Thomas ; his botanical
Buccleuch, Anne Scott, Duchess of ;
Buchanan; his political works burned at
Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of ;
Carstairs, a witness in the Popish plot,
Catharine of Portugal, Queen of Charles
Cavaliers, designation of, 104. Party,
Celibacy of clergy, how regarded by the
Celts, in Scotland and Ireland, 67.
Chaplains, domestic, 339, 340.
Charles 1.; his accession ; his charac-
rebellion, 110. Imneaches the live
members 112. Departs from Lon-
Charles 11.; acknowledged by Scotland
Charter, the Great, 16.
Charters, municipal, seized by Charles
Chatham ; Dutch fleet at, 199.
Chelsea in 1685, 363.
Chelsea Hospital, 319.
Cheshire, discovery of salt in, 328.
Chimney tax, 298.
Cibber (the sculptor), 429.
Civil war, commencement of, 117.
Clarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of, 111.
Clayton. Sir Robert; his house in the
Clergy; their loss of importance after
Clergy, rural, under Charles 11.. 336.
Clitford, Sir Thomas, 220. 228. His