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more necessary arts of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; and in the end, to the military art and genius itself, by which alone the immense fabric of the em pire could be supported. The irruption of the barbarous nation which soon fol lowed, overwhelmed all human knowledge, which was already far in its decline; and men sunk every age deeper into ignorance, stupidity, and superstition; till the light of ancient science and history had very nearly suffered a total extinction in all the European nations.
But there is a point of depression as well as of exaltation, from which human affairs naturally return in a contrary direction, and beyond which they seldom pass, either in their advancement or decline. The period in which the people of Christen dom were the lowest sunk in ignorance, and consequently in disorders of every kind, may justly be fixed at the eleventh century, about the age of William the Conqueror and from that era the sun of science, beginning to reascend, threw out many gleams of light, which preceded the full morning when letters were revived in the fifteenth century. The Daues and other northern people who had so long infested all the Coasts, and even the inland parts of Europe, by their depredatious, having now learned the arts of tillage and agrical ure, found a certain subsistence at home, and were no longer tempted to desert their industry in order to seek a precarious liveli hood by rapine and by the plunder of their neighbours. The feudal governments also, among the more southern nations, were reduced to a kind of system; and though that strange species of civil polity was ill fitted to insure either liberty or tranquillity, it was preferable to the universal license and disorder which had everywhere preceded it.
It may appear strange that the progress of the arts, which seems, among the Greeks and Romans, to have daily increased the number of slaves, should in later times have proved so general a source of liberty; but this difference in the events proceeded from a great difference in the circumstances which attended those institutions. The ancient barons, obliged to maintain themselves continually in a military posture, and little emulous of cloquence or splendour, employed not their villeins as domestic servants, much less as manufacturers: but composed their retinue of freemen, whose military spirit rendered the chieftain formidable to his neigh bours, and who were ready to attend him in every warlike enterprise. The villeins were entirely occupied in the cultivation of their master's land, and paid their rents cither in corn and cattle, and other produce of the farm, or in servile offices, which they performed about the baron's family, and upon the farms which he retained in his own possession. In proportion as agriculture improved and money increased, it was found that these services, though extremely burdensome to the villein, were of little advantage to the inaster; and that the produce of a large estate could be much more conveniently disposed of by the peasants themselves who raised it, than by the landlord or his bailiff who were formerly accustomed to receive it. A commutation was therefore made of rents for services, and of money-rents for those in kind; and as men, in a subsequent age, discovered that farms were better cultivated where the farmer enjoyed a security in his possession, the practice of granting leases to the peasant began to prevail, which entirely broke the bonds of servitude, already much iclaxed from the former practices. After this manner villenage went gradually into disuse throughout the more civilised parts of Europe: the interest of the master as well as that of the slave concurred in this alteration. The latest laws which we find in England for enforcing or regulating this species of servitude, were enacted in the reign of Henry VII. And though the ancient statutes on this head remain unrepealed by parliament, it appears that, before the end of Elizabeth, the distinction of villein and freeman was totally though insensibly abolished, and that no person remained in the state to whom the former laws could be applied.
Thus personal freedom became almost general in Europe; an advantage which paved the way for the increase of political or civil liberty, and which, even where it was not attended with this salutary effect, served to give the members of the community some of the most considerable advantages of it.
State of Parties at the Reformation in England.
The friends of the Reformation asserted that nothing could be more absurd than to conceal, in an unknown tongue, the word of God itself, and thus to counteract the will of Heaven, which, for the purpose of universal salvation, had published that
salutary doctrine to all nations; that if this practice were not very absurd, the artifice at least was very gross, and proved a consciousness that the glosses and traditions of the clergy stood in direct opposition to the original text dictated by Supreme intelligence; that it was now necessary for the people, so long abused by interested pretentions, to see with their own eyes, and to examine whether the claims of the ecclesiastics were founded on that charter which was on all hands acknowledged to be derived from Heaven; and that, as a spirit of rescarch and curiosity was happily revived, and men were now obliged to make a choice among the contending doctrines of different sects, the proper materials for decision, and, above all, the Holy Scriptures, should be set before them; and the revealed will of God, which the change of language had somewhat obscured, be again by their means revealed to mankind.
The favourers of the ancient religiou maintained, on the other hand, that the pretence of making the people see with their own eyes was a mere cheat, and was itself a very gross artifice, by which the new preachers hoped to obtain the guidance of them, and to seduce them from those pastors whom the laws of ancient establishments, whom Heaven itself, had appointed for their spiritual direction; that the people were, by their ignorance, their stupidity, their necessary avocations, totally unqualified to choose their own principles; and it was a mockery to set materials before them of which they could not possibly make any proper use; that even in the affairs of common life, and in their temporal concerns, which lay more within the compass of human reason, the laws had in a great measure deprived them of the right of private jud ment, and had, happily for their own and the public interest, regulated their conduct and behaviour; that theological questions were placed far beyond the sphere of vulgar comprehension; and ecclesiastics themselves, though assisted by all the advantages of education. erudition, and an assiduous study of the science, could not be fully assured of a just decision, except by the promise made them in Scripture, that God would be ever present with his church, and that the gates of hell should not prevail against her; that the gross errors adopted by the wisest heathens prove how unfit men were to grope their own way through this profound darkness; nor would the Scriptures, if trusted to every man's judgment, be able to remedy, on the contrary, they would much augment those fatal illusions; that Sacred Writ itself was involved in so much obscurity, gave rise to so many difficulties, contained so many appearing contradictions, that it was the most dangerous weapon that could be intrusted into the hands of the ignorant and giddy multitude; that the poetical style in which a great part of it was composed, at the same time that it occasioned uncertainty in the sense by its multiplied tropes and figures, was sufficient to kindle the zeal of fanaticism, and thereby throw civil society into the most furious combustion; that a thousand sects must arise, which would pretend, each of them, to derive its tenets from the Scriptures; and would be able, by specious arguments, to seduce silly women and mechanics into a belief of the most monstrous principles; and that if ever this disorder, dangerous to the magistrate himself, received a remedy, it must be from the tacit acquiescence of the people in some new authority; and it was evidently better, without further contest or inquiry, to adhere peaceably to ancient, and therefore the more secure, establish
Character of Queen Elizabeth.
The council being assembled, sent the keeper, admiral, and secretary to know her [the queen's] will with regard to her successor. She answered with a faint voice that as she had held a regal sceptre, she desired no other than a royal successor. Cecil requesting her to explain herself more particularly, she subjoined that she would have a king to succeed her; and who should that be but her nearest kinsman, the king of Scots? Being then advised by the archbishop of Canterbury to fix her thoughts upon God, she replied that she did so, nor did her mind in the least wander from Him. Her voice soon after left her; her senses failed; she fell into a lethargic slumber, which continued some hours, and she expired gently, without further struggle or convulsion (March 24, 1603), in the seventieth year of her age, and forty-fifth of her reign.
So dark a cloud overcast the evening of that day, which had shone out with a mighty lustre in the eyes of all Europe! There are few great personages in history who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies and the adulation of friends
than Queen Elizabeth; and yet there is scarcely any whose reputation has been
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and on her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over her people; and while she merited all their esteem by her real virtues, she also engaged their affections by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances; and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration-the true secret for managing religious factions she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversy had involved all the neighboring nations: and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able by her vigour to make deep impressions on their states; her own greatness meanwhile remained untouched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished under her reign, share the praise of her success; but instead of lessening the praise due to her. they make great addition to it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy, and with all their abilities they were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress; the force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness of her resolution, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices both of faction and bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is more durable because more natural, and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond measure or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admiration of her great qualities and extensive capacity; but we are also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater leuity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit is to lay aside all these considerations, and consider her merely as a rational being placed in authority, and intrusted with the government of mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her as a wife or a mistress; but her qualities as a sovereign, though with some considerable exceptions, are the object of undisputed applause and approbation.
DR. WILLIAM ROBERTSON.
DR. WILLIAM ROBERTSON was born at Borthwick, county of Edinburgh, September 19, 1721. His father was a clergyman, minister of Borthwick, and afterwards of the Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh: the son was also educated for the church. In 1743 he was appointed minister of Gladsmuir, in Haddingtonshire, whence he removed, in
1758, to be incumbent of Lady Yester's parish in Edinburgh. He had distinguished himself by his talents in the General Assembly; but it was not till 1759 that he became known as a historian. In that year he published his History of Scotland during the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James VI. till his Accession to the Crown of England,' for the copyright of which he received £600. No first work was ever more successful. The author was congratulated by all who were illustrious for their rank or talents. He was appointed chaplain of Stirling Castle; in two years afterwards, he was nominated one of his majesty's chaplains in ordinary for Scotland; and he was successively made principal of the university of Edinburgh, and historiographer for Scotland, with a salary of £200 per annum. Stimulated by such success, as well as by a love of composition, Dr. Robertson continued his studies, and in 1769 he produced his History of the Reign of Charles V.' in three volumes, quarto, for which he received from the booksellers the princely sum of £4500. It was equally well received with his former work. In 1777 he published his History of America,' and in 1791 his 'Historical Disquisition on Ancient India,' a slight work, to which he had been led by Major Rennel's 'Memoirs of a Map of Hindostan.' For many years Dr. Robertson was leader of the moderate party in the Church of Scotland, in which capacity he is said to have evinced in the General Assembly a readiness and eloquence in debate which his friend Gibbon might have envied in the House of Commons. After a gradual decay of his powers, this accomplished historian died on the 11th of June 1793, in the seventy-second year of his age.
The History of Scotland' possesses the interest and something of the character of a memoir of Mary, Queen of Scots. This unfortunate princess forms the attraction of the work; and though Robertson is not among the number of her indiscriminate admirers and apologists, he labours-with more of the art of the writer to produce a romantic and interesting narrative, than with the zeal of the philosopher to establish truth-to awaken the sympathies of the reader strongly in her behalf. The luminous historical views and retrospects in which this historian excels, were indicated in his introductory chapter on Scottish history, prior to the birth of Mary. Though a brief and rapid summary this chapter is finely written, and is remarkable equally for elegance and perspicuity. The style of Robertson seems to have surprised his contemporaries; and Horace Walpole, in a letter to the author, expresses the feeling with his usual point and vivacity. Before I read your "History," I should probably have been glad to dictate to you, and (I will venture to say it-it satirises nobody but myself) should have thought I did honour to an obscure Scotch clergymen by directing his studies by my superior lights and abilities. How you have saved me, sir, from making a ridiculous figure, by making so great a one yourself! But could I suspect that a man I beeve much younger, and whose dialect I scarce understood, and who
came to me with all the diffidence and modesty of a very middling author, and who I was told had passed his life in a small living near Edinburgh-could I then suspect that he had not only written what all the world now allows the best modern history, but that he had written it in the purest English, and with as much seeming knowledge of men and courts as if he had passed all his life in important embassies?' This is delicate though somewhat overstrained flattery. Two of the quarto volumes of Hume's History' had then been published, and his inimitable essays were also before the world, showing that in mere style a Scotchman could carry off the palm for case and elegance.
Robertson is more uniform and measured than Hume. He has few salient points, and no careless beauties. His style is a full and equable stream, that rolls everywhere the same, without lapsing into irregularity, or overflowing its prescribed course. It wants spirit and variety. Of grandeur or dignity there is no deficiency; and when the subject awakens a train of lofty or philosophical ideas, the manner of the historian is in fine accordance with his matter. When he sums up the character of a sovereign, or traces the progress of society and the influence of laws and government, we recognise the mind and language of a master in historical composition. The artificial graces of his style are also finely displayed in scenes of tenderness and pathos, or in picturesque description. His account of the beauty and sufferings of Mary, or of the voyage of Columbus, when the first glimpses of the new world broke upon the adventurers, possesses almost enough of imagination to rank it with poetry. The whole of the 'History of America' is indeed full of the strongest interest. The discovery of so vast a portion of the globe, the luxuriance of its soil, the primitive manners of its natives, the pomp, magnificence, and cruelty of its conquerors, all form a series of historical pictures and images that powerfully affect the mind. No history of America can ever supplant the work of Robertson, for his materials are so well arranged, his information so varied, his philosophical reflections so just and striking, and his narrative so graceful, that nothing could be added but mere details destitute of any great interest. His 'History ofthe Reign of Charles V.' wants this natural romance, but the knowledge displayed by the historian, and the enlarged and liberal spirit of his philosophical inquiries, are scarcely less worthy of commendation. The first volume, which describes the state of Europe previous to the sixteenth century, contains the result of much study and research, expressed in language often eloquent, and generally pleasing and harmonious. If the 'pomp and strut' which Cowper the poet imputes to Robertson be sometimes apparent in the orderly succession of well-balanced and equally flowing periods, it must be acknowledged that there is also much real dignity and power, springing from the true clevation of intellectual and moral character.