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his friends, and were not unwilling to disturb, though they hesitated to overturn, a Government they disliked, because it was founded on principles they abhorred. The Jacobites, though most of them were zealous members of the Church of England, had a stronger infusion of bigotry in their composition, and were ready to restore a Popish family, and submit to a Popish sovereign, rather than own a Government founded on a Parliamentary title. It was impossible that either Tories or Jacobites should have the confidence of the Hanoverian princes; and, therefore, while those divisions subsisted, all places of power and profit were in the hands of the Whigs. Of these two parties, the Tories and Jacobites were the most numerous. They included a certain number of the ancient nobility, and comprehended a very large proportion of the landed interest, and what gave them a prodigious influence in those days, a vast majority of the parochial clergy. The strength of the Whigs lay in the great aristocracy, in the corporations, and in the trading and moneyed interests. The Dissenters, who held Popery in abhorrence, and dreaded the overbearing spirit of the Church, were warmly attached to a Government that protected their religious liberty, and, as far as it durst, extended to them every civil right. It has, perhaps, been fortunate in its results for England, that her Church was for so many years in hostility to her Government. It was during this temporary dissolution of the vaunted alliance between Church and State, that religious freedom, such as it exists among us, struck so deep and vigorous a root, as to withstand every subsequent effort to blight or subvert it. It was during this period that the annual Indemnity Bills were introduced,

which, though they have left the stigma, have taken from the Test Act its sting; and it was during the same period that the Toleration Act received, in practice, that liberal interpretation which extends its benefits to every possible sect of Christians, the unhappy Catholics alone excepted.1 This protracted struggle between the adherents of the House of Hanover and the partisans of the Stuarts, was not, however, unattended with disadvantages. It confounded, for a time, the ancient distinctions of Whig and Tory, which had turned on constitutional differences of real and eternal importance, and converted two political sects, or parties, into two factions contending for the Crown. The Tories, forced to remain in opposition to the Government, learned to ape the language, and ended by adopting many of the opinions, of their adversaries. The Whigs, believing the preservation of their liberties. depended on the maintenance of the parliamentary settlement of the Crown, and finding themselves in a minority in the country, were constrained to employ measures, and sanction proceedings, from which their ancestors would have recoiled. To counteract the local influence of the gentry, they practised and encouraged corruption, both within Parliament and without, and thus turned against their enemies the weapon they had invented under the Stuarts. To suppress tumults of the rabble, instigated by the vehicles of Tory sentiment, annually exported from Oxford, and dispersed

1 By Plunkett's Catholic Relief Bill, 1821; the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, 1829; the Roman Catholics Penal Acts Bill, and the Dissenters Chapels Act, 1844; the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, 1851; the Jews Oath Act, 1858, &c.; and particularly by the growing conviction in the public mind, that a nation whose flag protects believers in every creed upon earth, is disgraced by intolerance to any-this evil is rapidly disappearing.

over the kingdom, they armed the magistrates with additional, and, till then, unknown powers; and, to defeat the enterprises of foreign princes, acting in conjunction with the disaffected at home, they maintained a standing army in time of peace.'

On the accession of the House of Hanover, the Riot Act was passed, the Triennial Act repealed, and the Habeas Corpus Act suspended by the Whigs. A shameless system of corruption and laxity of political principle was introduced, the whole extent of which has but recently been fully exposed to public view.

Hallam says, 'Without going farther back, we know that Henry VII., Henry VIII., Elizabeth, the four Kings of the House of Stuart, though not always with as much ability as diligence, were the master movers of their own policy, not very susceptible of advice, and always sufficiently acquainted with the details of government to act without it. This was eminently the case also with William III., who was truly his own minister, and much better fitted for that office than those who served him."1 Omitting the observation as to fitness, the same may be said of Anne.

But on the accession of the House of Hanover, this personal superintendence of the Sovereign came to an end. George I. could not speak the English language; he was neither familiar with English politics nor with English character; such being the case, he wisely entrusted to his ministers the entire management of his new kingdom. In this respect he was to so large an extent imitated by his son, that it may be said, that for fortysix years the personal authority of the Crown was im

1 Constitutional History, vol. iii. p. 289.

perceptible. The terms Whig and Tory, which theretofore had been little more than the mere war-cries of rival factions, the supporters of one of two peculiar theories, now became the names of the two parties into which all England was, or was supposed to be, divided,— names by one of which every Englishman was supposed to be describable—the names of the two cabinets, by one of which England was governed. 'It became the point of honour among public men to fight uniformly under the same banner, though not perhaps for the same cause; if, indeed, there was any cause really fought for but the advancement of a party." The Cabinet in power then, and ever since, has depended upon the strength of its party in the House of Commons; the strength of that party in the House of Commons, upon the popularity at the date of its election, outside the House, of its professed policy for the time being, or upon the confidence felt by the nation in the capacity and integrity of the leading men of the party.

The exercise of the personal authority, once suspended for so long a period, for ever lost its power for mischief with a cabinet composed of men to whom honour and patriotism are of more esteem than place. To attempt to notice the various ministries, to whom, and not to the Crown, since the accession of the House of Hanover, must be ascribed the praise or censure due to the government of England, would be foreign to the province of this sketch, the object of which has been to lay as succinctly as possible before the reader the steps by which the Constitution of England has arrived at its present condition, a condition for which 1 Hallam, Constitutional History, vol. iii. p. 291.

every Englishman should be sincerely grateful, and of which he may be justly proud; for the intelligence which will enable him to realize the past and the present, and to compare the two, take what period he may, cannot fail to do justice to the memory of those British patriots, nobles and commoners, who by their devotion, too often at the dearest cost, have secured to us the advantages, without the evils, of a republican form of government, coupled with the benefits, unimpaired by the disadvantages, of royalty and aristocracy.

Like the terms Whig and Tory, the terms 'Liberal' and Conservative' are, at the present day, meaningless. They describe no policy, represent no set of political opinions. The terms A's and B's would be as descriptive, and less pernicious; for while it cannot be questioned that the best men of each party are firm supporters of all the fundamental principles of the constitution, while it is certain that they would instantly and cordially unite to defend those principles, and to save the constitution from violence,-it is equally true that while, under the Tory banner, are to be found the most mulish of obstructives, under the Liberal flag are collected the most illiberal and unconstitutional of our fellow-countrymen.

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