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the character and position of the parties by whose agency the changes were wrought. Still it must be remembered that the immediate consequences of the Revolution were by no means such as would seem promised by the favourable conditions which M. Guizot so elaborately depicts. However remarkable might have been the concert of parties, or the moderation of leaders, yet neither plenteousness nor peace fell to the lot of the nation. The fortunes of England were for a subsequent period in a state of such unparalleled depression, that the year 1696 has been represented as the very nadir of English prosperity, while, as regards domestic concord, the attacks upon the new settlement were so frequent and resolute as to argue, apparently, a feeling of hostility at least as great as any heretofore manifested in France against the monarchy of July. Neither will it, we presume, be disputed, that if any of the numerous conspiracies against the throne of 1688 had chanced to be successful, the great charm would have been broken, the Crown of England would have again been considered an open stake, and with the durability of the settlement would have vanished the success of the Revolution and the hopes of the country. It was because the Constitutional Monarchy did withstand all assaults, that the increase of its stability was so continuous. A single reverse would have thrown things back to the confusion of 1688, and rendered the position of parties in England somewhat similar to what it now is in France. Since, then, the British nation, however cordially it might have welcomed the Bill of Rights, was certainly not unanimous in accepting the Act of Settlement, it becomes, as we have intimated, a.question of some interest to ascertain such secondary causes as may have conduced in our own case to a success so favourably contrasted with the issue elsewhere of similar experiments. Taking the first period of ten years from and after the Revolutions in the two countries, and judging from appearances merely, it certainly might have been thought that the prospects of France in 1840 were very far more promising than those of England in 1698. At that period it would really not have been unreasonable to infer that the settlement of 1830 must have been accomplished under conditions even more favourable than the settlement of 1688, inasmuch as in the former case the prosperity of the country seemed greater, the position of the new government more assured, the honesty of statesmen more general, and the relations of parties less inveterately hostile. Where, then, are we to search for that essential distinction between the two cases which produced such a contrast in the end? Was it solely owing to the character of the men and
State of French Parties ; 1789–1830.
principles of 1688 that Bolingbroke and Lochiel were unsuccessful, and Walpole and Pelham held their own?
The principal difference, as far as the secondary points are concerned, will be found, we believe, in the state of political opinion in the two countries at the time when their constitutional monarchies were respectively established. In France, when the crown was settled on the House of Orleans, there were three distinct parties opposed to the arrangement :- the Legitimists, the Imperialists, and the Republicans. The first of these appeared at that moment incomparably the strongest ; it had all the prestige of recent supremacy, and its second defeat merely suggested the parallel of a second restoration. After the vicissitudes of the thirty years previous, no party in France could suffer any permanent injury from this kind of discomfiture. The Imperialists seemed materially weaker and the Republicans less considerable still ; but they nevertheless formed cognizable factions, and experience has now shown that the vitality and strength of both had been somewhat underrated. At all events there were thus three parties - two depending on family or dynastic traditions and one on political theory. But what was the case in England ?
The Legitimist, that is to say the Jacobite party, was in. deed powerful, as we shall presently more particularly observe. The counterpart, if such it can be called, to the French Imperialists, is supplied by the adherents of the Cromwell family - a family which, it has been plausibly argued, might, at one moment, have been firmly established on the English throne; but of which the power and influence had so completely disappeared at the time of the Restoration, that the two Bonapartes of that day dropped unheeded into the ranks of private gentlemen and passed their days in such obscurity that it is possible we may surprise some reader by observing that the eldest son of the Protector was alive in 1713-almost in the reign of George I. The extinction of the Republican party was no less complete; and this fact stands in such remarkable contrast to the vitality of republican principles as now represented, that it suggests some further inquiry. In France Republicanism has survived to supersede the constitutional monarchy; in England it died without sign, trace, or credit. How came such diversities to pass? No doubt, as M. Guizot observes, the name and form of a Republic' offended the traditions and instincts of the people of England; but the phenomenon at its first appearance must have been at least equally offensive to the people of France. Surely the subjects of the Grand Monarque were as little predisposed to such conclusions as the countrymen of Cromwell.
Yet Republicanism struck root in France, while in England it withered in an hour.
The truth is, that the things here spoken of have nothing in common but the name. The Republicanism of 1648 bore no resemblance whatever to the Republicanism of 1793. Neither as a theory nor as a form of practical polity did it possess any seductiveness in the eyes of the people. A republic, in the seventeenth century, when no substantial influence had been acquired by political theories, meant simply a particular form of State Government, enjoying fewer distinctions than a monarchy, but not professing to promote democratic interests in any peculiar degree. Some vague notions of popular independence might perhaps be associated with the history of the Swiss cantons, but the two models from which the prevailing conceptions of Republicanism were derived, were the States of Venice and Holland,
oligarchies rather than republics, and certainly not exhibiting in their action any characteristic deference to popular will. In fact a republican form of government appears to have been established, rather of necessity than choice; and to have been considered to partake of the inferiority attached to municipal associations or leagues as distinguishable from sovereign States. Venice herself occasionally appealed to her sovereignty of Cyprus as conferring privileges not due to her in her ancient capacity; and a republic was only proclaimed in the Netherlands when it had been found impossible, after much search and solicitation, to procure a prince for the newly created State. As for any necessary increase of popular freedom under these institutions, no such conclusions: had been found to follow. There was unusual toleration in Holland, and reasonably good government, but nothing more; while in England the first acts of the republican council went to restrict the freedom of the subject within limits never before known. It is not to our purpose to enter upon these ordinances further than by calling attention to the spirit in which they were received. "Whatever ideas might have prevailed respecting a republic, it was clearly never conceived on the part either of rulers or people that such a form of government presupposed any material extension of political privileges or any enfranchisement. of classes previously excluded from power.
The republicanism, therefore, of the English Revolution presented nothing attractive or flattering to the minds of the people. It never even pretended to make them freer than before. It was not based upon any new political theory or devised in accordance with any ideas of social regeneration. It consisted merely in the substitution of one form of administrative machinery for another; its chief characteristic being the
State of English Parties ; 1648-1688.
exclusion of a single hereditary magistrate, and its practical operation, to deprive the people of much of the liberty they had enjoyed under the monarchy. Close as was the French Chamber of Deputies under King Louis Philippe, it may be termed a free and truly popular assembly, when compared with the English parliament under Cromwell. It can be no subject of surprise, then, that Republicanism, so understood and developed, took no
the English nation. In their eyes it merely assimilated the ancient monarchy of Britain to a Dutch oligarchy, and depressed them to the level of a State on which, at that time, they looked with anything but admiration or kindness. It was associated, in their recollections, with military government, oppressive taxation, severe restrictions on personal freedom, and a total change of the old spirit of the country. It found no advocates or adherents except among a few speculative admirers of the Venetian polity, or fanatics indoctrinated during exile or travel with the discipline of Holland. Accordingly the republican party, if party it can be called, was wholly insignificant in numbers and strength even in the year of the Restoration, and was virtually without representatives at the establishment of the constitutional monarchy. +
In this way was the new government left without any opposition, except that proceeding, if we may use the term, from above. It was subject to no pressure from below. There was no party endeavouring to force its doctrines into notice, as more liberal or popular than those avowed by the party in power; nor was there any quarter from which more was promised or expected in furtherance of civil liberty. No source of danger remained excepting in the prejudices of the Legitimists. From one of those liabilities, which attend all such convulsions, the English Revolution became thus exempt,— inasmuch as no class of any weight or influence wished to push its principles further than they had been actually carried. The spirit of revolution was satisfied, and the spirit of reaction alone existed to cause trouble or fear. This, it is obvious, was by far the less perilous spirit of the two; for whereas revolutionary ideas might have gained strength from the progress of the age and the march of political theories, the same causes evidently tended to weaken and exhaust the sentiments on which alone the reactionists could rely. Dynastic attachments and traditions were liable to perpetual impairment, from the misconduct of the exiled family, from that forgetfulness which absence always brings, from the new associations inevitably formed under a new government, and from the natural effects of weariness and despair. The
Jacobite feeling was, in its very nature, terminable, nor would t &
it ever have survived so long, or manifested itself in such strength, but for the support derived from the accidental relations of the Scottish kingdom - the old patrimony of the exiles - to the crown of England.
Even this opposition, however, simply constituted as it was, was amply sufficient to test the success of the English Revolution and put in peril the durability of the new government. Nor would it be easy to explain the ultimate triumph of the constitutional monarchy by reference to any palpable causes. No doubt the nation would have held fast through any dynastic changes to those great principles which M. Guizot enunciates as established by the Revolution - parliamentary government, the preponderance of the Commons' House, and the recognition of a Protestant Church. But in so far as these principles were symbolised by the maintenance of the House of Hanover on the throne, it is difficult to trace their uninterrupted security to any causes excluding great good fortune. The English insurrections which failed were better based and better supported than the French insurrections which succeeded. It has been usual, and certainly not otherwise than justifiable, to appeal to the indifference shown by the French people to the fate of their constitutional monarchy, as evidence that the government was both ill-administered and destitute of any sure foundation in the opinion or convictions of the country. But we doubt much whether this state of unconcern surpassed the apathy repeatedly manifested by the English under similar circumstances, as testified by the writers of the time. To take only one instance out of many: Marshal Wade reported, in 1745, that · England
was for the first comer;' and a member of the administration, in repeating this opinion for the information of a correspondent, observes, that if 5000 French had landed in the Pretender's interest) in any part of the island during the previous week, the entire conquest would not have cost them à battle. This, it must be remembered, was nearly sixty years after the Revolution; and yet the English people are represented as at that time absolutely indifferent to the fate of the dynasty which they had themselves so deliberately called to the throne. Perhaps they conceived the constitution safe in any event, or possibly they attached too little importance to the insurrection. Stories are told which show that even when the Highlanders were actually at Derby, the prevailing sentiment in some respectable classes of society was merely a stupid curiosity. But whatever may have been the motives at work, it is perfectly clear that the success of the English Revolution was not due in any considerable degree to the vigilance,