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account. Nelson, whose name is almost as familiarly associated with the battle of the Nile as with his victorious death at Trafalgar, stood for even more; he embodied not only that dominion of the sea which since his time England has maintained, but also that imperial power — for in his time England was already becoming imperial — which was able to withstand and to destroy the imperial force of France incarnate in Napoleon. Imperial though Nelson's victories were, however, Nelson himself was almost typically insular. It is hardly a play on words to say that as we compare Marlborough, the chief English hero of the opening century, with Nelson, the chief English hero of its close, Marlborough seems a European and Nelson an Englishman. This fact implies the whole course of English history in the eighteenth century. Just as the internal history of England tended to a more and more conservative preservation of public order, so her international history tended more and more to make Englishmen a race apart.

Before the century was much more than half done, this insular English race had on its hands something more than the island where its language, its laws, its traditions, and its character had been developed; something more, besides, than those American colonies whose history during their first century we have already traced. As the name of Quebec has already reminded us, the wars with the French had finally resulted in the conquest by the English Law of those American regions which had threatened to make American history that of a ceaseless confict between English institutions and those of continental Europe. The same years which had brought aboạt the conquest of Canada had also achieved the conquest of that Indian Empire which still makes England potent in Asia. In 1760, when George III. came to the throne, imperial England, which included the thirteen colonies of North America, seemed destined to impose its image on the greatest continents of both hemispheres.

Twenty years later the American Revolution had broken all political union between those regions in the old world and in the new which have steadily been dominated by English Law. That on both sides of the Atlantic the Common Law has been able to survive this shock is perhaps the most conclusive evidence of vitality in its long and varied history. The Revolution itself we shall consider more closely later : one fact about it we may remark here. Until the Revolution, America, like England, had considered France a traditional enemy. Open warfare with England naturally brought America and France together; without French aid, indeed, our independence could hardly have been established. A very few years, then, awoke among Americans a general sentiment, which their tradition has steadily maintained, of strong nominal sympat hy with the French. At the moment when this declared itself, as any one can now see, France, regardless of any such impediment to freedom of thought as might lurk in the facts of human experience, was vigorously, blindly developing that abstract philosophy of human rights which less than twenty years later resulted in the tragic convulsions of the French Revolution. The fascinating commonplaces of this philosophy were eagerly welcomed in America, where they have been popularly repeated ever since. From that time to this, indeed, American talk has been so radical that comparatively few appreciate how slightly all these glittering generalities have really distorted American conduct from the good old principle that true human rights are those which experience has proved beneficial. In no way, however, has America evinced its English origin more clearly than by the serenity with which it has forbidden logic to meddle with the substanial maintenance of legal institutions.

But our concern now is with England, who found herself, when the French Revolution came, the chief conservative power of Europe. The conservatism for which she stood, and has stood ever since, is of the kind which defends tradition against the assaults of untested theory. Without ignoring human rights, it maintains that the most precious human rights are those which have proved humanly feasible; abstract ideals of law and government, however admirable on paper, it regards with such suspicion as in daily life practical men feel concerning the vagaries of plausible thinkers who cannot make both ends meet. The conservatism of eighteenth-century England, in short, defended against untested philosophy the experience embodied in the unwritten Common Law; it defended custom, which at worst had proved tolerable, against theory, which had never been put to proof. So in this closing struggle of the eighteenth century, which continued for half a generation after the century ended, external forces combined with internal ones, — with a full century of domestic peace, and the final settlement of the royal succession, — to develop in England that isolated, deliberate, somewhat slow-witted character which foreigners now suppose permanently English.

The typical Englishman of modern caricature is named John Bull. What he looks like is as familiar to any reader of the comic papers as is the “ austerely sheepish” countenance of Stuart's Washington. There is a deep significance, then, in the fact that the costume still attributed to John Bull is virtually that of the English middle classes in 1800. No date better marks the moment when external forces and internal had combined to make typical of England the insular, vigorous, intolerant character embodied in that familiar and portly figure. Whatever else John Bull may be, he is not spontaneous in his reactions to fresh impressions; he is not enthusiastic, except in irascibility; and he is about as far from versatile as any human being who ever trod the earth.



The English literature of the eighteenth century is very different from that of the century before. The contrast may conveniently be considered by comparing the two periods as they began, as they proceeded, and as they closed. The three literary periods of the seventeenth century were dominated by three great figures, - those of Shakspere, of Milton, and of Dryden. While no such eminence as theirs marks the literary history of the century with which we are now concerned, three typical figures of its different periods may conveniently be called to mind, - Addison, Johnson, and Burke. The very mention of these names must instantly define the contrast now worth our attention. The seventeenth century was one of decided literary development, or at least of change. In comparison the eighteenth century was one of marked monotony.

The literature of its beginning is traditionally associated with the name of Queen Anne almost as closely as that of a hundred years before is with the name of Queen Elizabeth. In 1702, when Anne came to the throne, neither Addison, Steele, Swift, Defoe, nor Pope had attained full reputation; in 1714, when she died, all five had done enough to assure their permanence, and to fix the type of literature for which their names collectively stand. Prose they had brought to that deliberate, balanced, far from passionate form which it was to retain for several generations; poetry they had cooled into that rational heroic couplet which was to survive in America until the last days of Dr. Holmes. They had brought into being meanwhile a new form of publication,

the periodical, — destined to indefinite development. From the time when the first “ Tatler” appeared in 1709 to the present day, a considerable part of our lasting literature has been published in periodicals; and periodicals bespeak, before all things else, a permanent and increasing literary public. If any one name can imply all this, it is surely that of the urbane Joseph Addison.

In the middle of the century, when the reign of George II. was two-thirds over, English literature was producing a good many works which have survived. Between 1748 and 1752, for example, there were published, to go no further, Richardson's “ Clarissa Harlowe,” Smollett's “ Roderick Random and “ Peregrine Pickle,” Thomson's “Castle of Indolence, Fielding's “ Tom Jones” and “ Amelia,” Johnson's “ Vanity of Human Wishes” and a considerable portion of the “ Rambler,” Gray's “Elegy in a Country Churchyard,” and Goldsmith's « Life of Nash.” Sterne's work and Goldsmith's more famous writing came only a little later; and during these same five years appeared Wesley's “ Plain Account of the People Called Methodists,” Hume's “Inquiry into the Human Understanding,” — and his “ Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals” and “Political Discourses.” Though the works of Wesley and of Hume are something else than mere literature, they deserve our notice because Wesley's name recalls that strenuous outburst against religious formalism which has bred the most potent body of modern English Dissenters, and Hume's that rational tendency in philosophy which during the eighteenth century was far more characteristic of France than of England. Putting these aside, we may find in the literary record of this mid-century a state of things somewhat different from that which prevailed under Queen Anne. Another considerable form of English literature had come into existence, — the prose novel, whose germs were already evident in the character sketches of the “Spectator,” and in the characterless but vivacious fictions of Defoe. Poetry, preserving

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