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of York contained two sevenths of the population of England. At the time of the revolution, that province was believed to contain only one seventh of the population.” In Lancashire, the number of inhabitants appears to have increased ninefold, while in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Northamptonshire, it has hardly doubled.f Of the taxation we can speak with more confidence and precision than of the population. The revenue of England, under Charles the Second, was small, when compared with the resources which she even then possessed, or with the sums which were raised by the governments of the neighboring countries. It was little more than three fourths of the revenue of the United Provinces, and was hardly one fifth of the revenue of France. The most important head of receipt was the excise, which, in the last year of the reign of Charles, produced five hundred and eighty-five thousand pounds, clear of all deductions. The net proceeds of the customs amounted in the same year to five hundred and thirty thousand pounds. These burdens did not lie very heavy on the nation. The tax on chimneys, though less productive, raised far louder murmurs. The discontent excited by direct imposts is, indeed, almost always out of proportion to the quantity of money which they bring into the Exchequer; and the tax on chimneys was, even among direct imposts, peculiarly odious; for it could be levied only by means of domiciliary visits; and of such visits the English have always been impatient to a degree which the people of other countries can but faintly conceive. The poorer householders were frequently unable to pay their hearth money to the day. When this happened, their furniture was distrained without mercy; for the tax was farmed; and a farmer of taxes is, of all creditors, proverbially the most rapacious. The collectors were loudly accused of performing their unpopular duty with harshness and insolence. It was said that, as soon as they appeared at the threshold of a cottage, the children began to wail, and the old women ran to hide their earthen ware. Nay, the single bed of a poor family had sometimes been carried away and sold. The net annual receipt from this tax was two hundred thousand pounds.” When to the three great sources of income which have been mentioned we add the royal domains, then far more extensive than at present, the first fruits and tenths, which had not ye been surrendered to the Church, the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, the forfeitures and the fines, we shall find that the whole annual revenue of the crown may be fairly estimated at about fourteen hundred thousand pounds. Of the PostOffice, more will hereafter be said. The profits of that establishment had been appropriated by parliament to the Duke of York. The king's revenue was, or rather ought to have been, charged with the payment of about eighty thousand pounds a year, the interest of the sum fraudulently detained in the Exchequer by the Cabal. While Danby was at the head of the finances, the creditors had received their dividends, though not with the strict punctuality of modern times; but those who had succeeded him at the Treasury had been less expert, or less solicitous to maintain public faith. Since the victory won by the court over the Whigs, not a farthing had been paid ; and no redress was granted to the sufferers, till a new dynasty
* Dalrymple, Appendix to Part II. Book I. The returns of the hearth money lead to nearly the same conclusion. The hearths in the province of York were not a sixth of the hearths of England.
f I do not, of course, pretend to strict accuracy here ; but I believe that whoever will take the trouble to compare the last returns of hearth money, in the reign of William the Third, with the census of 1841, will come to a conclusion not very different from mine.
* There are, in the Pepysian Library, some ballads of that age on the chimney money. I will give a specimen or two : —
“The good old dames, whenever they the chimney man espied,
In the British Museum there are doggerel verses composed on the same subject and in the same spirit: – “Or, if through poverty it be not paid, For cruelty to tear away the single bed, On which the poor man rests his weary head, At once deprives him of his rest and bread.” I take this opportunity, the first which occurs, of acknowledging most gratefully the kind and liberal manner in which the Master and Vice-master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, gave me access to the valuable collections of Pepys.
had established a new system. There can be no greater error than to imagine that the device of meeting the exigencies of the state by loans was imported into our island. by William the Third. From a period of immemorial antiquity it had been the practice of every English government to contract debts. What the Revolution introduced was the practice of honestly paying them.” By plundering the public creditor, it was possible to make an income of about fourteen hundred thousand pounds, with some occasional help from France, support the necessary charges of the government and the wasteful expenditure of the court. For that load which pressed most heavily on the finances of the great continental states was here scarcely felt. In France, Germany, and the Netherlands, armies, such as Henry the Fourth and Philip the Second had never employed in time of war, were kept up in the midst of peace. Bastions and ravelins were every where rising, constructed on principles unknown to Parma or Spinola. Stores of artillery and ammunition were accumulated, such as even Richelieu, whom the preceding generation had regarded as a worker of prodigies, would have pronounced fabulous. No man could journey many leagues in those countries without hearing the drums of a regiment on march, or being challenged by the sentinels on the drawbridge of a fortress. In our island, on the contrary, it was possible to live long and to travel far, without being once reminded, by any martial sight or sound, that the defence of nations had become a science and a calling. The majority of Englishmen who were under twenty-five years of age had probably never seen a company of regular soldiers. Of the cities which, in the civil war, had valiantly repelled hostile armies, scarce one was now capable of sustaining a siege. The gates stood open night and day. The ditches were dry. The ramparts had been suffered to fall into decay, or were repaired only that the townsfolk might have a pleasant walk on summer evenings. Of the old baronial keeps many had been shattered by the cannon of Fairfax and Cromwell, and lay in heaps of ruin, overgrown with ivy. Those which remained had lost their martial character, and were now rural palaces of the aristocracy. The moats were turned into preserves of carp and pike. The mounds were planted with fragrant shrubs, through which spiral walks ran up to summel houses adorned with mirrors and paintings.” There were still to be seen, on the capes of the sea-coast, and on many inland hills, tall posts, surmounted by barrels. Once those barrels had been filled with pitch. Watchmen had been set round them in seasons of danger; and, within a few hours after a Spanish sail had been discovered in the channel, or after a thousand Scottish moss-troopers had crossed the Tweed, the signal fires were blazing fifty miles off, and whole counties were rising in arms. But many years had now elapsed since the beacons had been lighted; and they were regarded rather as curious relics of ancient manners than as parts of a machinery necessary to the safety of the state.f The only army which the law recognized was the militia. That force had been remodelled by two acts of parliament passed shortly after the Restoration. Every man who possessed five hundred pounds a year derived from land, or six thousand pounds of personal estate, was bound to provide, equip, and pay, at his own charge, one horseman. Every man who had fifty pounds a year derived from land, or six hundred pounds of personal estate, was charged in like manner with one pikeman or musketeer. Smaller proprietors were joined together in a kind of society, for which our language does not afford a special name, but which an Athenian would have called a Synteleia; and each society was required to furnish, according to its means, a horse soldier or a foot soldier. The whole number of cavalry and infantry thus maintained was popularly estimated at a hundred and thirty thousand men. : The king was, by the ancient constitution of the realm, and by the recent and solemn acknowledgment of both Houses of par. liament, the sole captain-general of this large force. The lords lieutenants and their deputies held the command under him, and appointed meetings for drilling and inspection. The time. occupied by such meetings, however, was not to exceed fourteen days in one year. The justices of the peace were au. thorized to inflict slight penalties for breaches of discipline. Of the ordinary cost no part was paid by the crown; but, when the trainbands were called out against an enemy, their subsistence became a charge on the general revenue of the state, and they were subject to the utmost rigor of martial law.
* My chief authorities for this financial statement will be found in
the Commons' Journals, March 1 and March 20, 1683.
* See, for example, the picture of the mound at Marlborough, in Stukeley's Itinerarum Curiosum. t Chamberlayne's State of England, 1684. 13 & 14 Car. II. c. 3; 15 Car. II. c. 4. Chamberlayne's State of England, 1684.
There were those who looked on the militia with no friendly eye. Men who had travelled much on the Continent, who had marvelled at the stern precision with which every sentinel moved and spoke in the citadels built by Vauban, who had seen the mighty armies which poured along all the roads of Germany to chase the Ottoman from the gates of Vienna, and who had been dazzled by the well-ordered pomp of the household troops of Lewis, sneered much at the way in which the peasants of Devonshire and Yorkshire marched and wheeled, shouldered muskets, and ported pikes. The enemies of the liberties and religion of England looked with aversion on a force which could not, without extreme risk, be employed against those liberties and that religion, and missed no opportunity of throwing ridicule on the rustic soldiery.* Enlightened patriots, when they contrasted these rude levies with the battalions which, in time of war, a few hours might bring to the coast of Kent or Sussex, were forced to acknowledge that, dangerous as it might be to keep up a permanent military establishment, it might be more dangerous still to stake the honor and independence of the country on the result of a contest between ploughmen officered by justices of the peace, and veteran warriors led by marshals of France. In parliament, however, it was necessary to express such opinions with some reserve ; for the militia was an institution eminently popular. Every reflection thrown on it excited the indignation of both the great parties in the state, and especially of that party which was distinguished by peculiar zeal
* Dryden, in his Cymon and Iphigenia, expressed, with his usual keenness and energy, the sentiments which had been fashionable among the sycophants of James the Second : —
“The country rings around with loud alarms,