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which not very long before had been animated, in however rude a manner, and however ill-instructed in political science, with a high spirit of liberty, which had raised its strong arm against the impositions of a monarch who thought it necessary for a governor to be a despot, and had prostrated him and his armies in the dust, submitting at last to the unqualified despotism of a much more odious tyrant. The view is still more mortifying, when we consider that this tyrant had never performed any one great action, and possessed no one virtue under heaven, to palliate even in appearance his depravity, and lessen, to the people, the ignominy of being his slaves. But it is most mortifying of all to find that these slaves were beaten and trodden into such fatuity, that they voluntarily abdicated all the rites of both men and brutes, and humbly lauded the master who sported with their privileges, their property, and their blood. No inconsiderable part of this volume consists of descriptions of such national humiliation; and we transcribe a short specimen, immediately following the account of Charles's turning off his last parliament, with the full resolution never to call another; “ to which resolution, indeed, Louis had bound him, as one of the conditions on which he was to receive his stipend."
“ No measure was ever attended with more complete success. The most flattering addresses poured in from all parts of the kingdom; divine right and indiscriminate obedience were every where the favourite doctrines ; and men seemed to vie with each other who should have the honour of the greatest share in the glorious work of slavery, by securing to the king, for the present, and, after him, to the duke, absolute and uncontrolable power. They, who, either because Charles had been called a forgiving prince by his flatterers, (upon what ground I could never discover) or from some supposed connexion between indolence and good nature, had deceived themselves into a hope that his tyranny would be of the milder sort, found themselves much disappointed in their expectations. The whole history of the remaining part of his reign, exhibits an uninterrupted series of attacks upon the liberty, property, and lives of his subjects.”—p. 43.
The most outrageous operations of Charles's tyranny were carried on in Scotland. This work exhibits, in considerable detail, the horrible system of proscription
and murder, which has given him a very reasonable claim to the company, in history or any where else, of Tiberius; for so we must be allowed to think, notwithstanding Mr. Fox has taken exception to Burnet's classing these two names together, forgetting that he himself had done the very same thing in an earlier page.
The scene becomes more hateful at every step ; till at length we behold one general spectacle of massacre, in which the most infernal riots of cruelty to which military ruffians, fully let loose, could be stimulated, were autho. rised and applauded by a government, which colleges, and dignitaries, and a large and preponderating part of the nation, adored as of divine authority, and really deserved, as a reward of such a faith, the privilege of adoring. It is after viewing such a course of transactions, that we want expressions of somewhat more emphatical reprobation, in closing the account with this wicked monarch, than those, though very strong and comprehensive, which Mr. Fox has used in the concluding delineation of his character. It was very proper to notice his politeness and affability, his facility of temper, and kindness to his mistresses ; but we think they should not have been so mentioned, as to have even the slightest appearance of a set off against the malignity of his wickedness and the atrocities of his government.
The manner in which Charles's kindness to his mistresses is mentioned, is a remarkable illustration of the importance of personal morality to a historian, as well as to a statesman.
“ His recommendation of the Duchess of Portsmouth and Mrs. Gwyn, upon his death-bed, to his successor, is much to his honour; and they who censure it, seem, in their zeal to show themselves strict moralists, to have suffered their notions of vice and virtue to have fallen into strange confusion. Charles's connexion with those ladies might be vicious, but at a moment when that connexion was upon the point of being finally and irrevocably dissolved, to concern himself about their future welfare, and to recommend them to his brother with earnest tenderness, was virtue. It is not for the interest of morality that the good and evil actions of bad men, should be confounded."- p. 64.
We do not know that any moralist ever forbade a departing criminal to be concerned for the welfare of his surviving companions in guilt, only it would be enjoined that shame and penitence should mingle with this concern; but every moralist will be indignant at this gentle equivocal mode of touching that vice, by which it is notorious that the example of the king contributed to deprave the morals of the nation, as much as his political measures to exterminate its freedom. It is most signally remarkable what a careful silence is maintained, in this work, respecting the state of morals during this reign. Is it then no business of history to take account of such a thing ? Even regarding the matter in a political view, is the depravity of a people never to be reckoned among the causes, and the most powerful causes, of their sinking quietly under despotism?
The commencement of James's reign, as far as the work before us has illustrated it, was a mere continuation of the preceding, as James, at his accession, graciously promised his subjects it should. This promise was received with grateful joy by a large proportion of the English nation, and by the governing party even in Scotland, whose fulsome abominable address of congratulation is given in this work. Their joy and loyalty were carried to the height of enthusiasm, no doubt, when they found the same infernal work of massacre animated to redoubled activity, and were honoured with the charge of executing an act, which extended, to all persons hearing conventicle preaching, the punishment of death.
Though James was a papist, Mr. Fox has proved, by the most decisive arguments, that his grand leading object was the establishment of an absolute despotism; and that any designs he might entertain of introducing popery, would have been kept in reserve till this was accomplished. Meanwhile he much courted the zealous adherents of the established church, and he plainly intimated that they had been found the firmest friends of such government, as that of his father, his brother, and himself. It is strange that a man of Mr. Fox's candour should, throughout the book, have contrived to find the
very same thing. It surely became him, in the justice of history, to have particularised the many noble efforts made by the churchmen of those times, in resistance of the doctrines and the practices of despotism. He ought to have taken notice of what was so zealously done and written, by ecclesiastical dignitaries, in behalf of liberty of conscience, and in prevention of all persecution for religious opinions and methods of worship.
A large space is occupied with the invasions and proceedings of Monmouth and Argyle. The account of the execution of Monmouth is finely written; but the most interesting part of the whole volume, is the account of the last days and the death of Argyle. We should have transcribed this part, but that we are persuaded it
in very many publications, and in every work that shall profess to be a collection of the finest passages in the English language. It is a picture drawn with the happiest simplicity, though with one slight blemish, of one of the most enchanting examples of heroic virtue that history or poetry ever displayed. It is closed with what we felt to be the most eloquent sentence in the whole work,
Observations on the Historical Work of the Right Honourable Charles
James Fox. By the Right Honourable George RoSE. With the Narrative of the Events which occurred in the Enterprise of the Earl of Argyle, in 1685. By Sir PATRICK HUME. 4to.
It is presumed that a certain portion of mankind hate the intellectual despotism which is felt to be maintained by pre-eminent talents, in however liberal a spirit they are exerted; and are therefore extremely gratified to see men of ordinary abilities gain an advantage, in any instance, through industry or good luck, over men of the highest genius. To the reading part of this class of persons, the present volume will be peculiarly acceptable; and on the other hand, to those who are tempted absolutely to worship great talents, it will not be a little mortifying, though salutary as a check on idolatry, to see such a man as Mr. Fox write a book to be refuted by such a man as Mr. Rose. The case is made still worse, when we recollect that the illustrious historian was several years in preparing his work; and find the present writer modestly pleading, in extenuation of any imperfections in his own performance, that he was obliged to compose it “ in little more than the same number of weeks,” and that too “ in the midst of almost unremitting attention to official duties, which take equally from the disembarrassment of the mind as from the leisure of time.” In whatever degree this examiner appears to be successful in the detection of errors in the historian, we are so much more confirmed in the opinion (to which we could not help inclining ever since first hearing of Mr. Fox's undertaking,) that he might have found far better employment for his incomparable talents. It was obvious, and the present publication makes it still more obvious, what loads of old records, and tedious worm-eaten