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History of the English People, Volume VII The Revolution, 1683-1760; Modern England, 1760-1767   By: (1837-1883)

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First Page:

HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE

by

JOHN RICHARD GREEN, M.A. Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford

VOLUME VII

THE REVOLUTION, 1683 1760. MODERN ENGLAND, 1760 1767

London MacMillan and Co., Ltd. New York: MacMillan & Co. 1896

First Edition 1879; Reprinted 1882, 1886, 1891. Eversley Edition, 1896.

CONTENTS

BOOK VIII

THE REVOLUTION. 1683 1760

CHAPTER III PAGE THE FALL OF THE STUARTS. 1683 1714. 1

CHAPTER IV

THE HOUSE OF HANOVER. 1714 1760. 147

BOOK IX

MODERN ENGLAND. 1760 1815

CHAPTER I

ENGLAND AND ITS EMPIRE. 1760 1767. 273

CHAPTER III

THE FALL OF THE STUARTS

1683 1714

[Sidenote: The King's Triumph.]

In 1683 the Constitutional opposition which had held Charles so long in check lay crushed at his feet. A weaker man might easily have been led to play the mere tyrant by the mad outburst of loyalty which greeted his triumph. On the very day when the crowd around Russell's scaffold were dipping their handkerchiefs in his blood as in the blood of a martyr the University of Oxford solemnly declared that the doctrine of passive obedience even to the worst of rulers was a part of religion. But Charles saw that immense obstacles still lay in the road of a mere tyranny. Ormond and the great Tory party which had rallied to his succour against the Exclusionists were still steady for parliamentary and legal government. The Church was as powerful as ever, and the mention of a renewal of the Indulgence to Nonconformists had to be withdrawn before the opposition of the bishops. He was careful therefore during the few years which remained to him to avoid the appearance of any open violation of public law. He suspended no statute. He imposed no tax by Royal authority. Galling to the Crown as the freedom of the press and the Habeas Corpus Act were soon found to be, Charles made no attempt to curtail the one or to infringe the other. But while cautious to avoid rousing popular resistance, he moved coolly and resolutely forward on the path of despotism. It was in vain that Halifax pressed for energetic resistance to the aggressions of France, for the recall of Monmouth, or for the calling of a fresh Parliament. Like every other English statesman he found he had been duped. Now that his work was done he was suffered to remain in office but left without any influence in the government. Hyde, who was created Earl of Rochester, still remained at the head of the Treasury; but Charles soon gave more of his confidence to the supple and acute Sunderland, who atoned for his desertion of the king's cause in the heat of the Exclusion Bill by an acknowledgement of his error and a pledge of entire accordance with the king's will.

[Sidenote: New Town Charters.]

The protests both of Halifax and of Danby, who was now released from the Tower, in favour of a return to Parliaments were treated with indifference, the provisions of the Triennial Act were disregarded, and the Houses remained unassembled during the remainder of the king's reign. His secret alliance with France furnished Charles with the funds he immediately required, and the rapid growth of the customs through the increase of English commerce promised to give him a revenue which, if peace were preserved, would save him from any further need of fresh appeals to the Commons. Charles was too wise however to look upon Parliaments as utterly at an end: and he used this respite to secure a House of Commons which should really be at his disposal. The strength of the Country party had been broken by its own dissensions over the Exclusion Bill and by the flight or death of its more prominent leaders. Whatever strength it retained lay chiefly in the towns, whose representation was for the most part virtually or directly in the hands of their corporations, and whose corporations, like the merchant class generally, were in sympathy Whig... Continue reading book >>


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