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later, and was worked out with great- desolate her borders. The changes er difficulty, in consequence of the which took place in her political mind jealous care with which their chains and character were gradual ; insensihad been rivetted ; still there can be bly springing from her own interior no longer any doubt of its being com- action, and from sympathy with those plete. Indeed, the entire political se- mightier changes with which all the paration of the two continents is an surrounding nations were shaken. The event which cannot now be at a great higher orders lost none of their titles distance. Too happy for the powers or honours ; and their place in the poof Europe if they tranquilly yield to litical system was supported by habits an issue inevitably prepared by the and acquirements superior to those course of human events, and do not possessed by the same rank in other again waste their blood and treasure in countries. Still, during the present abortive attempts to counteract them. period, there had insensibly taken
In the eastern extremity of the place a decline of the reverence with globe, a revolution as complete, but which rank and titles were viewedvery opposite in its character, mark- a continually augmenting energy of ed the reign of George III. The most the popular spirit; and an eagerness, splendid of the empires of Asia, the even in the lowest ranks, to obtain an empire of Sandracottus, of Timur, influence in the direction of public and of Aurengzebe, an empire con
affairs. From the Revolution to the taining a hundred millions of men, commencement of the present reign, has been subjected to the absolute all the tendencies to public commosway of a company of merchants, who tion had been to support the rights of can reach it only by a navigation of birth and hereditary succession; and fifteen thousand miles. Yet strange the established government had been and anomalous as this arrangement under no danger, unless from the reappears, it is so strongly supported storation of a dynasty invested with by the great superiority of energy absolute power. Under George III. and character on one side, and on the this tendency disappeared, and danger other by long habits of foreign sub- arose from an opposite quarter. All jection, that, without some very un- the disturbances and alarms felt by the foreseen event, it is likely to endure nation, during its lapse, have arisen for several generations. If such dis- from the eruptions of the popular spitant possessions yield any solid bene- rit; and the only government which fit, this oriental empire may well com- it has been ever proposed to substipensate Britain for all that she has tute for the existing one, has been one lost in the occidental regions. Pro- consisting, or at least containing a bably, however, the real benefit is not larger portion than now, of democravery great ; and Britain, when the tic elements. Not unconnected prohour of separation at last comes, may bably with this change in public opisuffer as little as by the loss of her nion, has been another in the position western colonies.
taken by the crown.
William, and While the civilized world, and all the early princes of the house of the regions connected with it, were Hanover, though disposed, like other shaken by these violent convulsions, kings, to push their actual power as Britain enjoyed a deep internal tran- far as it would go, yet professed quillity. No foreign enemy set foot whig principles; those by which alone upon her soil; nor did civil conflict they did or could continue to sit on the British throne. After the extinc- duly seconded by the industry and tion of the Stuarts, and of all interest skill of the British capitalist, produin, or favour for, that unfortunate ced manufactures that seemed suffihouse; and after the dangers which cient for the supply of a world. To began to arise from a new quarter, the old English staples of wood and its views were likely to undergo a iron, another was added, which soon change. Nothing now separated the eclipsed both, though with materials crown from its natural friends from drawn from an opposite hemisphere. those who were disposed to support This manufacture, which in a few to the utmost the cause of authority years converted villages into cities, and of hereditary right. This party and covered barren tracts with an were now disposed to transfer to the immense population, may probably Hanover succession that fealty which boast a superiority, in regard to the their ancestors had felt for the hope- amount of its products, over any ever less cause of the abdicated race. Per- established in the world. We forbear haps, had there been as deep a root to make any observations on the stagof toryism in the country, as under nation which this, still more than the William, or even under George II., other branches of industry, has so rethe consequences might have been markably experienced ; being yet undangerous to public liberty. But able to determine whether it is to be tories, even the most zealous, no ascribed to a permanent decline, or longer supported monarchical power merely to the temporary exhaustion with the same blind zeal as their ja- produced by over excitement. cobite ancestors. They supported it, The foreign trade of England has not on the principles of divine right been in full proportion to its manuand passive obedience, but simply as factures ; many of which were destitending to support the welfare of so- ned for the supply of the most distant ciety, and the place which they them- regions. The forced carrying trade selves held in it. When to this colde of the United States, which it lost by ness of the supporters of the crown, their attainment of independence, has we add the increased numbers and been much more than compensated zeal of those who seek to reduce its by the valuable trade of consumption prerogative, there seems very little with that flourishing quarter of the reason to suppose or apprehend any world. The carrying trade, which general increase of the regal influ- Britain gained during the revolution
ary war by the annihilation of rival If, from political arrangements, we navies, was not perhaps of so much proceed to public economy and the value as has been supposed. pursuits of national industry, we shall Meantime, the present age has been find the reign of George III. consti- more peculiarly distinguished by imtuting a truly remarkable era. Bri- provements in a different direction. tain presented then a progress, un- From the fifteenth century downparalleled in any other age or nation, wards, commerce had been the idol either as to its rapidity, or the height before which the nations bowed. Agriwhich it reached. Science came forth cultural industry and internal comfrom her closet, and taught the me- munication were considered as obchanic, with instruments before un- jects humbly useful indeed, but not known, to ply the loom and the wheel as those in which the splendour and with tenfold effect. Its instructions, greatness of a nation consisted. The
present age took a sounder view of ported by a crowd of great names, of the subject. Agriculture was at length which the northern part of the isowned as the grand and solid basis of land contributed a large proportion. national prosperity; its advancement The poetic muse, after having probecame the object of general solici. duced, in the first part of the reign, tude ; societies for its improvement only scanty and humble effusions, were instituted, over which the most burst forth latterly in a series of vaillustrious personages in the nation ried and splendid efforts, which have made it their pride to preside. In surpassed the age of Anne, and perhaps short, with such effect were know- rivalled the more brilliant one of Eliledge, skill, and capital, enıployed by zabeth. In this respect, England is the
farmer, that in the course of this now pre-eminent over the rest of Eureign, the rents over the kingdom rope. Mathematical, physical, above were generally tripled ; and in the all, chemical science, has been distinnorthern and previously less-impro- guished by so many illustrious names ved districts, were raised in a much and great discoveries, as would have greater proportion. For reasons al- raised England above any other counready mentioned, we shall say no- try, had not France, in this one rething of the existing stagnation, till spect, been so very pre-eminent, as it shall
appear to what extent it is perhaps to claim some degree of sulikely to be permanent. We can- periority. not, however, forbear alluding to But the circumstance, perhaps, the vast works undertaken during which characterizes the present age this period for the promotion of in. beyond any other, is the general difternal trade. Those carried on by fusion of knowledge among all classes government, though very extensive, of the community. First, ignorance bear but a very small proportion to has ceased to be any glory among the numberless millions expended by the classes distinguished by wealth private adventurers ; so that England and opulence. Among the gentry of may now be considered as rivalling the old school, although it was consiChina in this species of improvement, dered requisite to possess the first the most valuable and permanent of elements of education, yet any habit any.
of literary pursuit appeared unsuitaOur limits scarcely admit of con- ble to a man of rank and of the world, sidering this age in a literary and in- and what should be left to those tellectual view. A volume would be whose special business it was. The necessary to do justice to so vast a same principle was applied still' more subject. Suffice it to say, that no pe- rigorously to the fairer part of the creriod in the history of the world has ation ; who, it was supposed, could been witness to more varied or more no longer form the ornament of our splendid exertions. In this reign, the societies, or the careful guardians of muse of history, which had almost our household, if their science exslumbered in modern times, and more tended much beyond the kitchen and particularly in England, produced, in the drawing-room. The last half cenRobertson, Hume, and Gibbon, mom tury has effaced these prejudices. At dels rivalling the most classic produc- present, with respect to both these tions of antiquity. Moral and meta- classes, a certain measure of knowphysical science was not new to this ledge is considered indispensable ; a country; but it has been amply sup- much larger as an ornament; and
the very highest scarcely as a ble. this respect, the most marked change mish. The proficiency of our lords has now taken place. All the efforts and ladies is duly attested by the va- of ingenuity and philanthropy have luable works which they have pro- been exhausted, that even the humduced, and by the number who stand blest British subject may attain those at the very head of our literature. first principles of knowledge, which With respect to the latter, also, we are essential to his moral and religious are happy to understand that this qua- welfare. The religious, the literary, lification has not been found to inter- and the political worlds, have combifere either with their agreeableness in ned their efforts in this great purpose. society, or with the regulations of do- With the means, the desire of knowmestic economy.
ledge has also become general. The After all, however, the most im- political events of the present day, portant revolution, and that which peculiarly calculated to act on the seems pregnant with the greatest mind of the lower orders, had no changes, consists in the extension of doubt a wonderful effect in rousing knowledge in quite a different direc- them from their apathy. Knowledge, tion in the diffusion of its elements besides, possesses so many attractions among that humbler and more nume. for the human mind, that when plarous class, who were formerly suppo- ced within view and within reach, the sed to be shut out entirely from the desire of attainment can scarcely fail pale of intellectual existence-desti, to be excited. Thus, it is no longer ned to be the mere hewers of wood doubtful, that all the subjects of the and drawers of water for the more crown of Great Britain, will, in the fortunate part of their species. In next age, be a reading generation. Scotland, indeed, for more than a The consequences may not be of that century, the valuable institution of pa- wholly unmixed good which sanguine rish schools had diffused, at least philanthropists are apt to conceive. through all its rural districts, benefits We have no doubt that evils will which were universally acknowledged. arise ; perhaps we have already expeBut in England, and the rest of the rienced some, and others may follow, empire, the first principles of educa- which cannot now be discerned by tion could be obtained only at a high- the narrow range of human intelleci. er price than the labouring class had But none of these considerations can, the means,
or at least the inclination, we apprehend, deter the well-wisher to afford. The English labourer, even of his species from putting his hand when receiving ample wages, remain- to a work which cannot now be ared usually sunk in fat contented igno- rested, and must, in its ultimate efrance, and did not even care to col- forts, bc productive of a general imlect that scanty measure of know- provement. ledge which circumstances would In closing this hasty survey, it is have allowed. He fell into that stu- impossible not to remark, that Bripified and benumbed state to which tain, at the end of the reign of George the labouring class is liable in a com. III., occupied a more conspicuous mercial state of society ; when the di- place in the system of Europe, and of vision of labour, reducing the occu- the world in general, than at any pation of every individual to a narrow former period of her history. She mechanical routine, withdraws all dai- held that which France had taken ly demands upon his intellect. In since the reign of Lewis XIV., and
which Spain had held before-as the purity, and respect for religion, leadcentre of power and civilization—the ing features in his external deportmodel upon which other nations seek ment, without forbidding austerity, to form themselves—the hinge round to guard the gaieties of a court from which all the great changes in the degenerating into licentiousness ;world revolve. How long she may re- these, which in an absolute prince tain this proud pre-eminence, so dear- are only secondary qualities, become ly purchased, while so great a fer- of the first value in the head of a liment prevails in the world, and revo- mited monarchy. The eminent delutions are every where afloat, can- gree in which they were displayed by not be too confidently predicted. It our late venerable Sovereign, has excan only be said, that there is no torted universal applause. present appearance of rivalry to it In regard to public measures, the among any other European power or King gave some striking proofs of people; and that it may probably be willingness to remain in his place as expected to last till Europe itself be a member of a constitutional monareclipsed by the mighty empires rising chy; and even where obvious expebeyond the Atlantic.
diency dictated, to extend the powers The question now arises, amid these of those branches which were indegreat changes which marked the fate pendent of himself. This appeared of Britain during this reign, what the conspicuously in the measure recomMonarch himself was, and what in- mended by himself from the throne, fluence he exercised ? It must first be within six months after his accession, admitted, that there can be no room of rendering the office of judge inde for ascribing to George III. that en- pendent of the executive. The naergy and originality of mind which tion was thus indebted to the sponcould enable him, like Lewis XIV., taneous act of its King, for the most or Charles V., to stamp his own cha- important accession to public liberty racter on the age. In the great events which the constitution has received which took place in Britain, or which since the Revolution. Lord North was she effected in the nations around, it accustomed to say, “ The King would never could be said that the Monarch live on bread and water to preserve himself
the main impulse. But the constitution of his country. He the fact is, that this is a quality under would sacrifice his life to maintain it the want of which the nation has in inviolate.”_" Born and educated in no degree suffered ; and which it is this country,” said he, “I glory in the neither desirable nor desired that a name of Briton.” And he had accordBritish King should display. That ingly shaken off entirely that preferprinciple, the necessary basis of a li- ence of Hanover, which had been felt mited monarchy, which imposes upon as odious in the former monarchs of ministers all the responsibility of pub- that race. It could never, indeed, be Jic measures, vests in them the actual expected, that, steering through his direction of these measures, and esta whole life between opposite parties, blishes the King rather as an orna- and shewing preferences to one or ment and central support of the poli- another, he should escape severe strictical system, than an active member tures on his public career. There are of it. "To do well the honours of his not wanting those who charge upon situation—to exhibit the virtues of himself, personally, all the measures private life-to make dignity, moral of his reign which have had an unfor.