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CHOSEN AND EDITED
JOHN RICHARD GREEN, M.A., LL.D.
Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford
WE commonly regard the Age of the Revolution as an age of military exploits and political changes, an age whose warlike glories loom dimly through the smoke of Blenheim or of Ramillies, and the greatness of whose political issues still impresses us, though we track them with difficulty through a chaos of treasons and cabals. But to the men who lived in it the age was far more than this. To them the Revolution was more than a merely political revolution ; it was the recognition not only of a change in the relations of the nation to its rulers, but of changes almost as great in English society and in English intelligence. If it was the age of the Bill of Rights, it was the age also of the Spectator. If Marlborough and Somers had their share in shaping the new England that came of 1688, so also had Addison and Steele. And to the bulk of people it may be doubted whether the change that passed over literature was not more startling and more interesting than the change that passed over politics. Few changes, indeed, have ever been so radical and complete. Literature suddenly doffed its stately garb of folio or octavo, and stepped abroad in the light and easy dress of pamphlet and essay. Its long arguments