Early modern period

Henry's work was simple enough. After Bosworth, with a competent police force at hand to execute process, he had only to organize a political court, and to ruin by confiscatory fines all the families strong enough, or rash enough, to maintain garrisoned houses. So Henry remodelled the Star Chamber, in 1486, [Footnote: 3 Henry 7, C 1.] to deal with the martial gentry, and before long a new type of intelligence possessed the kingdom.

The feudal soldiers being disposed of, it remained to evict the monks, who were thus left without their natural defenders. No matter of faith was involved. Henry VIII boasted that in doctrine he was as orthodox as the pope. There was, however, an enormous monastic landed property to be redistributed This was confiscated, and appropriated, not to public purposes, but, as usually happens in revolutions, to the use of the astutest of the revolutionists. Among these, John Russell, afterward Earl of Bedford, stood preeminent. Russell had no particular pedigree or genius, save the acquisitive genius, but he made himself useful to Henry in such judicial murders as that of Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury. He received in payment, among much else, Woburn Abbey, which has since remained the Bedford country seat, and Covent Garden or Convent Garden, one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in London. Covent Garden the present duke recently sold, anticipating, perhaps, some such legislation as ruined the monks and made his ancestor's fortune. As for the monks whom Henry evicted, they wandered forth from their homes beggars, and Henry hanged all of them whom he could catch as vagrants. How many perished as counterpoise for the peasant massacres and Lollard burnings of the foregoing two centuries can never be known, nor to us is it material. What is essential to mark, from the legal standpoint, is that while this long and bloody revolution, of one hundred and fifty years, displaced a favored class and confiscated its property, it raised up in their stead another class of land monopolists, rather more greedy and certainly quite as cruel as those whom they superseded. Also, in spite of all opposition, labor did make good its claim to participate more or less fully in the ownership of the property it cultivated, for while the holding of the ancient villein grew to be well recognized in the royal courts as a copyhold estate, villeinage itself disappeared.

Yet, unless I profoundly err, in the revolution of the sixteenth century, the law somewhat conspicuously failed in its function of moderating competition, for I am persuaded that competition of another kind sharpened, and shortly caused a second civil war bloodier than the Wars of the Roses.

Fifteen years before the convents were seized, Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia, in whose opening chapter More has given an account of a dinner at Cardinal Morton's, who, by the way, presided in the Star Chamber. At this dinner one of the cardinal's guests reflected on the thievish propensities of Englishmen, who were to be found throughout the country hanged as felons, sometimes twenty together on a single gallows. More protested that this was not the fault of the poor who were hanged, but of rich land monopolists, who pastured sheep and left no fields for tillage. According to More, these capitalists plucked down houses and even towns, leaving nothing but the church for a sheep-house, so that "by covin and fraud, or by violent oppression, ... or by wrongs and injuries," the husbandmen "be thrust out of their own," and, "must needs depart away, poor, wretched souls, men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children, widows." The dissolution of the convents accelerated the process, and more and more of the weaker yeomanry were ruined and evicted. It is demonstrated that the pauperization of the feebler rural population went on apace by the passage of poor-laws under Elizabeth, which, in the Middle Ages, had not been needed and, therefore, were unknown. This movement, described by More, was the beginning of the system of enclosing common lands which afterward wrought havoc among the English yeomen, and which, I suppose, contributed more than any other single cause to the Great Rebellion of the seventeenth century. In the mediæval village the owners of small farms enjoyed certain rights in the common land of the community, affording them pasturage for their cattle and the like, rights without which small farming could not be made profitable. These commons the land monopolists appropriated, sometimes giving some shadow of compensation, sometimes by undisguised force, but on the whole compensation amounted to so little that the enclosure of the commons must rank as confiscation. Also this seizure of property would doubtless have caused a convulsion as lasting as that which followed the insurrection of 1381, or as did actually occur in Ireland, had it not been for an unparalleled contemporaneous territorial and industrial expansion. Thorold Rogers always insisted that between 1563, the year of the passage of the Statute of Apprentices, [Footnote: 5 Eliz. c. 4.] and 1824, a regular conspiracy existed between the lawyers "and the parties interested in its success ... to cheat the English workman of his wages, ... and to degrade him to irremediable poverty." [Footnote: Work and Wages, 398.] Certainly the land monopolists resorted to strong measures to accumulate land, for something like six hundred and fifty Enclosure Acts were passed between 1760, the opening of the Industrial Revolution, and 1774, the outbreak of the American War. But without insisting on Rogers's view, it is not denied that the weakest of the small yeomen sank into utter misery, becoming paupers or worse. On the other hand, of those stronger some emigrated to America, others, who were among the ablest and the boldest, sought fortune as adventurers over the whole earth, and, like the grandfather of Chatham, brought home from India as smugglers or even as pirates, diamonds to be sold to kings for their crowns, or, like Clive, became the greatest generals and administrators of the nation. Probably, however, by far the majority of those who were of average capacity found compensation for the confiscated commons in domestic industry, owning their houses with lots of land and the tools of their trade. Defoe has left a charming description of the region about Halifax in Yorkshire, toward the year 1730, where he found the whole population busy, prosperous, healthy, and, in the main, self-sufficing. He did not see a beggar or an idle person in the whole country. So, favored by circumstances, the landed oligarchy met with no effective resistance after the death of Cromwell, and achieved what amounted to being autocratic power in 1688. Their great triumph was the conversion of the House of Commons into their own personal property, about the beginning of the eighteenth century, with all the guaranties of law. In the Middle Ages the chief towns of England had been summoned by the king to send burgesses to Westminster to grant him money, but as time elapsed the Commons acquired influence and, in 1642, became dominant. Then, after the Restoration, the landlords conceived the idea of appropriating the right of representation, as they had appropriated and were appropriating the common lands. Lord John Russell one day observed in the House of Commons that the burgesses were originally chosen from among the inhabitants of the towns they represented, but that, in the reign of Anne, the landlords, to depress the shipping interest, opened the borough representation to all qualified persons without regard to domicile. [Footnote: 36 Hansard, Third Series, 548.] Lord John was mistaken in his date, for the change occurred earlier, but he described correctly enough the persistent animus of the landlords. An important part of their policy turned on the so-called Determination Acts of 1696 and 1729, which defined the franchises and which had the effect of confirming the titles of patrons to borough property, [Footnote: Porritt, Unreformed House of Commons, I, 9, et seq.] thus making a seat in the House of Commons an incorporeal hereditament fully recognized by law. On this point so high an authority as Lord Eldon was emphatic. [Footnote: 12 Hansard, Third Series, 396.] By the time of the American War the oligarchy had become so narrow that one hundred and fifty-four peers and commoners returned three hundred and seven members, or much more than a majority of the House as then organized. [Footnote: Grey's motion for Reform, 30 Parl. Hist. 795 (A.D. 1793)] With the privileged class reduced to these contemptible numbers a catastrophe necessarily followed. Almost impregnable as the position of the oligarchy appeared, it yet had its vulnerable point. As Burke told the Duke of Portland, a duke's power did not come from his title, but from his wealth, and the landlords' wealth rested on their ability to draw a double rent from their estates, one rent for themselves, and another to provide for the farmer to whom they let their acres. Evidently British land could not bear this burden if brought in competition with other equally good land that paid only a single rent, and from a pretty early period the landlords appear to have been alive to this fact. Nevertheless, ocean freights afforded a fair protection, and as long as the industrial population remained tolerably self-supporting, England rather tended to export than to import grain. But toward 1760 advances in applied science profoundly modified the equilibrium of English society. The new inventions, stimulated by steam, could only be utilized by costly machinery installed in large factories, which none but considerable capitalists could build, but once in operation the product of these factories undersold domestic labor, and ruined and evicted the population of whole regions like Halifax. These unfortunate laborers were thrust in abject destitution into filthy and dark alleys in cities, where they herded in masses, in misery and crime. In consequence grain rose in value, so much so that in 1766 prayers were offered touching its price. Thenceforward England imported largely from America, and in 1773 Parliament was constrained to reduce the duty on wheat to a point lower than the gentry conceded again, until the total repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. [Footnote: John Morley, The Life of Richard Cobden, 167, note 5.] The situation was well understood in London. Burke, Governor Pownall, and others explained it in Parliament, while Chatham implored the landlords not to alienate America, which they could not, he told them, conquer, but which gave them a necessary market,—a market as he aptly said, both of supply and demand. And Chatham was right, for America not only supplied the grain to feed English labor, but bought from England at least one third of all her surplus manufactures.

Philip II, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth

THE MONARCHY of Philip II was held by no binding idea, but religious unity. The dynasty was new, and the king was not personally imposing or attractive. The people of Palermo, Milan, Antwerp, had no motive to make sacrifices, except the fact that their king was the one upholder of religion in Europe. Catholics in every country were his natural allies.

Charles V, who accepted inevitable divisions in Germany, had established the Inquisition in the Netherlands. Under Philip that policy was consistent, and promised, in the flood of the Counter-Reformation, to be a source of power. He would not fall behind his father. He drove the Netherlands into rebellion; but his intention was intelligible. In the sixteenth century the pride of state does as much for oppression and intolerance as religious passion. If he succeeded in repressing heresy, he would have a very real political advantage over other powers. In October 1565 he wrote: "As to the Inquisition, my will is that it be enforced by the Inquisitors as of old, and as is required by all law, human and divine. This lies very near my heart, and I require you to carry out my orders. Let all prisoners be put to death, and suffer them no longer to escape through the neglect, weakness, and bad faith of the judges. If any are too timid to execute the edicts, I will replace them by men who have more heart and zeal."

By this scheme of violence Philip II turned the Reformation into revolution. He saw that generally nothing was more striking than the ease with which people changed religious profession; and he believed that what was done with success in Germany and Austria and England, could be done in the seven provinces of the Burgundian crown. The leaders of the popular movement were men of rank, like Egmont and William of Orange, men not likely to go to extremes. And it was an axiom that the masses are always led by few, and cannot act of themselves. But in the Netherlands more than elsewhere the forms, if not the reality, of freedom were preserved, and the sovereign was not absolute. Moreover, he governed from a distance, and, in addition to his constitutional caution and procrastination, correspondence was very slow.

The endeavour of Philip to substitute his will for self-government provoked a Catholic and aristocratic opposition, followed by a democratic and Protestant movement, which proved more difficult to deal with. The nobles were overcome by the strong measures of Alva. The Gueux were defeated by Don Juan and Farnese, after the recall of Alva. And it seemed, for many years, that the movement would fail. It is to the statesmanship of William the Silent, who was neither a great soldier nor a strong churchman, that they owed their success. He failed, indeed, to keep Protestants and Catholics together on a wide basis of toleration. In 1579 the southern provinces returned to Spain, and the northern provinces cast off their allegiance. But, by the union of Utrecht, they founded that confederacy which became one of the foremost powers in the world, and the first of revolutionary origin. The southern provinces remained Catholic. The northern were, in great measure, Protestant, but with a large Catholic population. William, the Stadtholder, was killed by an assassin in 1584, before his work was done. He had brought in Alencon, Elizabeth's suitor, that he might secure the help of France. But Alencon proved a traitor; and during the proconsulate of Farnese, Duke of Parma, the Spaniards gained much ground.

Philip II stood at the height of his power in the middle of the eighties. He had annexed Portugal, with its immense colonial empire. By the death of Alencon, the King of Navarre, who was a Huguenot, became the heir to the crown of France, and the Catholic party looked to Spain for their salvation. Now, after many patient years, he prepared for war with England. For Drake was ravaging Spanish territory; and an English army under Leicester, having occupied the Netherlands after the death of William, though they accomplished little, gave just cause for an open quarrel. Whenever, in the course of the Counter-Reformation, it came to a duel between Spain and England, the fate of Protestantism would be staked on the issue. That conflict was finally brought about, not by the revolt of the Netherlands, but by the most tragic of all histories, that begins at Holyrood with the murder of Riccio and ends twenty-one years later at Fotheringay.

When Mary Stuart came to Scotland the country had just become Protestant. She did not interfere with the settlement, but refused to permit the suppression of Catholicism, and became, in opposition to the most violent of the reformers, a champion of religious toleration. John Knox differed from all the Protestant founders in his desire that the Catholics should be exterminated, root and branch, either by the ministry of State, or by the self-help of all Christian men. Calvin, in his letter to Somerset, went very far in the same direction, but not so far as this. The nobles, or rather the heads of clans, in whom the power of society resided, having secured the Church lands, were not so zealous as their preachers, and the queen succeeded in detaching them. Mary was religious without ferocity, and did not share the passions of her time. She would have been willing to marry Leicester, and to make herself dependent on English policy, but Elizabeth refused to acknowledge her right of succession, and drove her to seek connection with the Catholic Powers. She wished at one time to marry Don Carlos, that, having been Queen of France, she might become Queen of Spain. This was impossible; and so she became the wife of Darnley, who united the blood of the Tudors and the Stuarts. She belonged, on her mother's side, to the house of Guise, whose princes were leaders of the militant Counter-Reformation. The duke, who had slaughtered the Huguenots at Vassy, was now dead. But his brother, the Cardinal, who afterwards claimed the merit of a more signal massacre, was still an important personage in Church and State. Mary, appearing on this background of sanguinary uncles, was believed to be an adherent of their policy, and to take part in all extremes of the Catholic reaction.

Riccio, the Piedmontese secretary, through whom she corresponded with foreign princes, was hated accordingly; and Darnley, who attributed to the Italian's influence his own exclusion from power, consented that he should be made away with. The accomplices who wrought the deed took care that Mary should know that they acted with his approval; and when she found herself the wife of an assassin and a coward, the breach ensued which was sometimes dissembled but never repaired. Three months later their son was born, but Darnley was not present at the christening. His enemies advised the Queen to obtain a divorce, but she objected that it would injure the prospects of her son. Maitland then hinted that there might be other ways of getting rid of him. Mary did not yield consent; but the idea once started was followed up, and the king was doomed to death by what was called the Bond of Craigmillar.

At the end of 1566 he fell seriously ill at his father's house at Glasgow. Mary came, spent three days with him, and an explanation took place, amounting apparently to a reconciliation. Darnley was taken to Edinburgh, and lodged about a mile from Holyrood, at Kirk-o'-Field, where he was repeatedly visited by the queen. On the night of 9th February she went away to attend a ball, and three hours after she had left him his house was blown up, and he was found in the garden, strangled. Nobody doubted at the time, or has ever doubted since, that the crime was committed by the Earl of Bothwell, a rough and resolute soldier, whose ambition taught him to seek fortune as a supporter of the throne. He filled Edinburgh with his troops, stood his trial, and was at once acquitted. Thereupon his friends, and some who were not his friends, acting under pressure, resolved that he should marry the queen. As a widow, she was helpless. Bothwell possessed the energy which Darnley wanted, and, as he was a Protestant, the queen would be less isolated. He had killed her husband; but then her husband was himself a murderer, who deserved his fate. Bothwell, encouraged by many of the Lords, had only executed justice on a contemptible criminal. There was a debt of gratitude owing to him for what he had done.

Public decorum forbade that the queen should ostensibly accept the offer of a man who made her a widow ten weeks before. Therefore Bothwell waylaid the queen at the Brig of Almond, some miles from Edinburgh, dispersed her attendants, and carried her off to Dunbar. There was a difficulty about the marriage, because he was married already. He now procured a divorce, and, ten days after the outrage at Almond Brig, they reappeared at Edinburgh. The queen publicly forgave Bothwell for what he had done, made him a duke, and, on 15th May, three months after the explosion at Kirk-o'-Field, married him according to the Presbyterian rite. The significant sequence of these events gave an irresistible advantage to her enemies. It was an obvious inference that she had been a party to the murder of the king, when she was so eager to marry the man that slew him. The only answer would be by discarding him. Nobody could think the son safe in the hands of his father's murderer.

Either the Lords must get the queen into their power, or they must dethrone her and govern Scotland during the long minority of her son. The forces met at Carberry Hill. There was no fight. Mary hoped, by a temporary parting from her third husband, to save her crown. She passed into captivity, was shut up at Loch Leven, and compelled to abdicate. The Protestant interest was at last supreme.

Mary escaped from her island prison, gathered an army, gave battle at Langside, and lost it, and then, losing courage before her cause was helpless, fled to England, in the belief that Elizabeth would save her.

From the death of Darnley, still more after her Protestant marriage, she had ceased to be the champion of her own Church. That was again her position when she came to England. There, she was heir to the throne, and the centre of all the hopes and efforts to preserve or to restore Catholicism.

The story of Mary Stuart cannot be told without an understanding in regard to the Casket Letters. They are still the object of an incessant controversy, and the problem, although it has made progress of late, and the interest increases with the increase of daylight, remains unsolved. The view to be taken of the events depends essentially on the question of authenticity. If the letters are what they seem to be, the letters of the queen to Bothwell, then she is implicated in the murder of her husband. If they are not authentic, then there is no evidence of her guilt. Everybody must satisfy himself on this point before he can understand the ruin of the Catholic cause in Scotland and in England, and the consequent arrest of the Counter-Reformation in Europe.

At the same time the issue does not seriously affect the judgment of History on the character of the queen herself. She repeatedly expressed her delight in murder, and her gratitude to those who executed or attempted it, and stands on the same level of morality with the queen her mother-in-law, or with the queen her rival. But the general estimate does not throw light on the particular action, and supplies no help in a hanging matter.

The opinion of historians inclines, on the whole, in her favour. About fifty writers have considered the original evidences sufficiently to form something like an independent conclusion. Eighteen of these condemn Mary, thirty pronounce her not guilty; two cannot make up their minds. Most of the Catholics absolve, and among Protestants there is an equal number for and against. The greater names are on the hostile side. They do not carry weight with us, because they decided upon evidence less complete than that which we possess. Four of the greatest, Robertson, Ranke, Burton, Froude, were all misled by the same damaging mistake. The equal division of the Protestants shows how little any religious bias has had to do with the inquiry; so that the overwhelming majority on the Catholic side requires explanation.

There have been two reasons for it. Many found it difficult to understand how a woman who died so edifying a death could have been a murderess. It would be easy to find many instances of men in that age who led holy lives and died with sincerity, but who, in the matter of homicide, had much in common with the Roman triumvirs, or the heroes of the French Revolution. But persons disposed to admit that difficulty would naturally be impressed by an argument of much greater force. The man who produced the famous letters, the Chancellor Morton, was a notorious villain. He had kept guard at Holyrood while his friends slew Riccio. Further, many have admitted, many more are now ready to admit, that some portion of the letters is forged. In that case, how can we accept evidence which the forgers have supplied? How can we send Mary to the scaffold on the testimony of perjured witnesses? Either we must say that the proofs are genuine throughout, and that Morton did not suffer them to be tampered with, or we must absolve Mary. Nobody, I think, at the present day, will deny that the letters, as we have them, were tampered with. Therefore we must hold Mary to be not guilty. Everybody can see the force of this argument, and the likelihood that it would impress those who expect to find consistency in the lives and characters of men, or even of women.

On 20th June, 1567 Morton captured Dalgleish, one of Bothwell's men, who had helped to kill Darnley. In order to escape torture—he did not escape capital punishment—Dalgleish delivered up a silver gilt casket which had belonged to the queen's first husband, and which now contained papers, the property of her third husband. Among them were eight letters, not directed, or dated, or signed, but which were recognised by those who saw them to be in the handwriting of the queen.

Towards the end of July it began to be whispered, by Moray in London, by Throckmorton at Edinburgh, that they proved her complicity in the death of Darnley, and justified the Lords in deposing her. In the following year, when Mary had sought a refuge in England, these papers were produced, and they furnished the argument by which Elizabeth justified the detention of the Scottish queen. The decisive piece is a long document, known as the Glasgow letter, which alludes distinctly to the intended crime. As it contains a conversation with Darnley, which he repeated to Crawford, one of his officers, the confirmation thus supplied caused it to be widely accepted at the time, and by the four writers I named just now.

That is what puts them out of court; for the letter was evidently concocted by men who had Crawford's report before them. The letter is spurious, and it is the only one that connects the queen with the death of Darnley. It does not follow that the others are spurious, for they add nothing to the case. The forgers, having constructed the damning piece, would not be likely to do more. Every additional forgery would increase the risk of detection, without any purpose. What purported to be the originals do not exist. They can be traced down to 1584, and no farther. The handwriting can no longer be tested. Until lately, the French text of the letters was not known, and they could be studied only in translations.

Since 1872, when the Hatfield letters were discovered, and were printed at Brussels, we possess four in their original shape. These cannot be seriously impeached. The comparison of the style and language with that of Mary's undisputed writings shows that they correspond; and they do not resemble in the same degree those of her contemporaries. The ablest of Mary's advocates accept these letters as genuine. But they deny that they were written to Bothwell. The writer speaks of a secret marriage, which she would like to disclose. There certainly was no secret marriage with Bothwell; but it is a possible hypothesis that she may have married Darnley in secret before the ceremonial wedding. Therefore this letter, which is a love letter, is quite legitimate, and is meant for the right address. But the word which the queen uses, marriage, is employed in the sense of a wedding ring, as they say alliance or union, to this day, in the same meaning. She is regretting that she must wear the ring round her neck, and cannot produce it in public, because of Darnley.

Besides the one which is spurious and the four which are genuine, there are three other letters which we do not know in the original French. They cannot be tested in the same manner as those I have just spoken of, and cannot be accepted with the same confidence. If, then, we divide the letters in this way: one evidently forged, four evidently genuine, and three that are best left aside, the result is that there is no evidence of murderous intent. But it would appear that Mary wished to be carried off by Bothwell, and that she meant to marry him. How she proposed to dispose of her living husband, whether by death or by his consent to divorce, we cannot tell. The case is highly suspicious and compromising; but more than that is required for a verdict of guilty in a matter of life and death.

What is known as the Penal Laws begins with Mary's captivity in England. There was the northern rising; the Pope issued a Bull deposing Elizabeth, and Philip undertook to make away with her; for the Queen of Scots, once Queen of France, now fixed her hopes on Spain and the forces of the Counter-Reformation. The era of persecution began which threw England back for generations, while France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands were striving for religious freedom. It was proposed to extirpate the Catholics. Negotiations were opened with the Scots to give them back their queen, on condition that they would at once put her to death. And when she had been condemned for plotting treason, Elizabeth asked her gaoler to murder her in her prison. The execution at Fotheringay gave Elizabeth that security at home which she could never have enjoyed while Mary lived. But it was the signal of danger from abroad. Philip II was already preparing for war with England when Mary bequeathed her rights to him. The legal force of the instrument was not great, but it gave him a claim to fight for, constituting the greatest enterprise of the Reformation struggle. Sixtus V, the ablest of the modern Popes, encouraged him. Personally, he much preferred Elizabeth to Philip, and he offered her favourable terms. But he gave his benediction, and even his money, to the Spaniards when there was a chance that they would succeed. And their chances, in the summer of 1588, seemed very good. The Armada was stronger, though not much stronger, than the English fleet; but the army that was to be landed at the mouth of the Thames was immeasurably superior to the English. This was so evident that Philip was dazzled and listened to no advice. They might have sailed for Cork and made Ireland a Spanish stronghold. They might have supplied Farnese with the land force that he required to complete the conquest of the revolted provinces, putting off to the following year the invasion of England. When they came in sight of Plymouth, Recalde, one of the victors of Lepanto, and Oquendo, whose name lasted as long as the Spanish navy, for the ship of the line that bore it was sunk in Cervera's action, demanded to fight. But the orders were peremptory to sail for Dunkirk and to transport Farnese to Margate. The Armada made the best of its way to Gravelines, where they were attacked before Farnese could embark, and the expedition failed.

An American writer, meditating upon our history at Battle, on the spot where Harold fell, once expressed his thought in these words, "Well, well, it is a small island, and has been often conquered." It was not conquered in August 1588, because Drake held the narrow seas. The credit was not shared by the army. And it may be a happy fortune that the belated levies of Tilbury, commanded by Leicester, never saw the flash of Farnese's guns. For the superiority of Spain was not by sea, nor the greatness of England on land. But England thenceforth was safe, and had Scotland in tow. Elizabeth occupied a position for which her timorous and penurious policy, during so many years, had not prepared the world. She proposed terms to Philip. She would interfere no more in the Low Countries, if he would grant toleration. Farnese entered into the scheme, but Philip refused. The lesson of the Armada was wasted upon him. He did not perceive that he had lost Holland as well as England.

The revolt of the Netherlands created a great maritime power; for it was by water, by the dexterous use of harbours, estuaries, and dykes, that they obtained independence. By their sea power they acquired the trade of the Far East, and conquered the Portuguese possessions. They made their universities the seat of original learning and original thinking, and their towns were the centre of the European press. The later Renaissance, which achieved by monuments of solid work what dilettantism had begun and interrupted in the Medicean age, was due to them and to the refuge they provided for persecuted scholars. Their government, imperfect and awkward in its forms, became the most intelligent of the European governments. It gave the right of citizenship to revolutionary principles, and handed on the torch when the turn of England came. There the sects were reared which made this country free; and there the expedition was fitted out, and the king provided, by which the Whigs acquired their predominance. England, America, France have been the most powerful agents of political progress; but they were preceded by the Dutch. For it was by them that the great transition was made, that religious change became political change, that the Revolution was evolved from the Reformation.

Henry the Fourth and Richelieu

THE ARGUMENT of the following half century, from the civil wars to the death of Richeleau, as in the English parallel from the Armada to the Long Parliament, was the rise of political absolutism. Henry IV, the prince who made it acceptable and national, and even popular in France, was fitted to disarm resistance, not only by brilliant qualities as a soldier and a statesman, but also by a charm and gladness of character in which he has hardly a rival among crowned heads. He succeeded in appeasing a feud which had cost oceans of blood, and in knitting together elements which had been in conflict for thirty years. The longing for rest and safety grew strong, and the general instinct awarded him all the power that was requisite to restore public order and dominate surging factions.

The Catholics held out till 1594 at Paris, and still longer in Rome. But the League began to go to pieces when its invincible protector, Farnese, died in 1592. Then Mayenne, the general of the League, who was a Guise, and his brothers successor as leader of the Catholic nobility, came to a breach with the fierce democracy of Paris. The siege, by intensifying antagonism and passions, had produced new combinations in politics and a wider horizon. The Parisians who, twenty years earlier, had adopted massacre as a judicious expedient, now adopted revolution. The agitators and preachers who managed opinion, taught the right of armed resistance, the supremacy of the masses, the duty of cashiering kings, the lawfulness of tyrannicide. The blending of inquisition with revolution was a novelty.

Since the popes had become temporal sovereigns, like the of the Gentiles, the tendency of the Church was towards conservatism and sympathy with authority. But the Parisian clergy, when opposing monarchy associated 'with Protestantism, endeavoured to employ the utmost violence of popular feeling. And they had the support of Rome. A papal legate was shut up in the capital, encouraging it to resist. He belonged to the ancient and illustrious house of Caetani. The last head of that family, the father of the Duke of Sermoneta, lately minister of foreign affairs, once showed me an inscription, in monumental Latin, setting forth how he had at last paid off the immense debt incurred by the legate in the defence of Paris. With Caetani was Bellarmin, the most famous controversialist of the sixteenth century, who there imbibed the doctrines which made him one of the masters of revolutionary Catholicism, and a forerunner of Algernon Sidney. There, too, Mariana had witnessed the scenes of 1572, and learnt the mingled lesson of conditional authority, revolt, and murder, which he taught publicly, and without incurring censure at Madrid or Rome. For thirty years these views prevailed over a wider circle, and were enforced in many volumes too ponderous to survive.

In France the revival of these sanguinary sentiments served to increase reaction and to strengthen the party of the throne. In preference to such defenders of religion and the public good, people turned to the austere Royalists and Gallicans. The change was not final or complete, and did not carry all men with it. Imitators of Jacques Clement arose among the clergy, and Henry fell at last by the hand of a fanatic. When Mayenne sent the leaders of the populace to the scaffold, the defence became hopeless. Henry foiled his enemies by becoming a Catholic. He was not capable of taking dogmatic issues much to heart, and never ceased to hope for reunion, believing that the breach could be repaired, and that men who took pains to understand each other would find that there was no insurmountable obstacle to reconciliation. Many profited by the change who doubted his sincerity. But Henry was in the hands of Duperron, one of the most expert divines of modern times, who proved more than a match for Duplessis Mornay, and whom Casaubon, a better scholar than Duplessis Mornay, described as a thunderbolt of a man. Nobody supposed that he would have conformed if it had involved the sacrifice of the crown. It is not clear that it did actually involve the sacrifice of his conviction. The Pope, under Spanish influence, hesitated long to acknowledge him. It was a defeat and a humiliation to accept as eldest son of the Church an excommunicated heretic, who, by the law of the Supreme Tribunal, deserved to die, and to submit to him because he was victorious over Catholics of France and Spain. His elevation was a boon to the French, because he restored the prosperity of their Church; but it was none to Rome, because his belief was a compromise between Roman doctrine and ethics the reverse of Roman. The delicate negotiation was carried to a satisfactory end by Cardinal D'Ossat, whose despatches were long received, and perhaps still are, as the best in the language, and the model of all diplomacy. Spain followed Rome, and a conference was held under the presidency of the Pope, which concluded peace in the Treaty of Vervins. Then Philip II died, a defeated and disappointed man, whose schemes were wrecked by an inflexible intolerance; but with his military power undiminished, still the master of incomparable legions, still the ruler of the greatest empire in History.

Henry IV closed the era of religious wars by granting liberty to Protestants on terms intended to ensure permanence. All offices, civil and military, were thrown open; they retained their cities of refuge, and acquired the machinery of equal justice, by the expedient of mixed tribunals. The Catholics gained even more; for whereas Protestant churches were excluded from Paris, and from certain towns which had capitulated on that condition, the mass was restored everywhere, and particularly in two hundred and fifty towns from which the Huguenots, who predominated in the west and south, had banished it.

The Edict of Nantes forms an epoch in the progress of toleration, that is, in the history of liberty, which is the marrow of all modern History. It is a more liberal scheme than the Peace of Religion, which satisfied the previous generation of Germans. It pacified France and afforded to the minority sufficient strength and safety, not on the basis of religious equality, but in the shape of circumscribed and definite privilege. Some of the Acts of Pacification which failed had been more ample. Socinians went much deeper in the sixteenth century, and Independents in the seventeenth. The edict involved no declaration of new principles, and no surrender of ancient claims. The government made concessions of a purely practical kind, which might be revoked thereafter, if the Huguenots became less formidable and the crown more powerful. There was no recognition that they were concessions of the moral order, which it would be usurpation to refuse, or to which the subject had a right under a higher law. The action of the crown was restricted, without detriment to its authority. No other religious body was admitted but that which had made its power felt by arms in eight outbreaks of civil war. Beyond them, persecution was still legitimate. The power of the Protestants was acknowledged, not the prerogative of conscience. The Edict of Nantes was not one of those philosophical instruments which breed unending consequences, growing from age to age, and modifying the future more and more. It was a settlement, not a development. This was the method chosen in order to evade resentment on the part of Catholics and the weakening of the crown. To speak in general or abstract terms of the sovereign conscience was to urge the contrast between the Roman Inquisition and the spirit of early Christianity, and to promote a breach with the Catholicism of Southern Europe. To proclaim that the civil magistrate has no right to regulate belief was to limit monarchy and to repel the Politiques, who were the legislators of the day, and who attributed all power on earth to the State, admitting a wise restraint, but no renunciation of right.

The plan adopted achieved the desired result. The Protestants enjoyed the faculty of self-government, and their great writers and scholars were free to influence opinion by their writings. While the stubborn fixity of German Lutherans and Swiss Calvinists lifted them out of the stream of actual history, French Protestantism, like English, was full of growth and originality. The law of the new government was to raise the Crown above parties, and the State above the nation. It was part of the doctrine which Machiavelli revealed to the men of the Renaissance. The Middle Ages had practised class government. The interests dominant in society dominated the State, and employed it for their own advantage. The territorial aristocracy, or the clergy, legislated for themselves and controlled taxation. Venice, which was a republic not of landowners but of shipowners, was the first to revert to the ancient notion of the State acting for its own purposes, bound to no interest, following the opinion of no majority. Venice turned from the sea to the land, and became an Italian Power, in obedience to no class, on public grounds only, regardless of other influences. The French monarchy, as Henry restored it, was of necessity raised above the contending parties, and was the organ of no inspiration but its own. He dropped the states-general, which had been turbulent and hostile, and carried out his measures in defiance of the parliaments. That of Rouen refused for ten years to register the Edict of Nantes. Feeling safe with the Protestants and with the Politiques, who were the real basis of his administration, he devoted himself to the task of winning over their Catholic opponents. The Jesuits represented Rome, the Counter-Reformation, and the League, and were banished for tyrannicide. Henry recalled them, and made one of them, a divine whose life has been written in four volumes, the keeper of his conscience. He was solicitous of the friendship of Rome, and of influence in the College of Cardinals, where his moderating hand was soon felt.

The king's conciliatory policy triumphed in a quarrel which broke out between Rome and Venice. The Papacy desired to enforce a system of its own in matters of Church and State, and, in other words, to make laws for the nations to obey. The Canon Law did not come down from heaven, but was enacted from time to time in the past, and was to be enacted furthermore in the future. Venice, as a modern state, self-sufficing and concentrating power, legislated for its clergy as well as for its laity, resenting interference outside questions of pure doctrine. The two pretensions clashed under Paul V, a zealous and uncompromising pontiff, the founder of the House of Borghese. He claimed a jurisdiction in Venice which could not have been asserted successfully in France or Spain, because a surrender of authority which may be made to superior force cannot be made voluntarily where there is no compulsion. But the court of Rome was the chief seat of those aspirations after the control of states, which had been so lately renewed.

Since the failure of the schemes against Elizabeth and the victory of Gallicans over the League and the medieval ideal, a new heresy, the political heresy, had been discovered, which Cardinal Baronius, the foremost of the Roman divines, denounced as the most damnable of all heresies. By that was meant the notion of a science of politics limiting the ecclesiastical domain; an ethical and political system deriving its principles elsewhere than from the Church, and setting up a new and rival authority yet to be defined, ascertainable in no book, and not accepted by the nations. Those amongst us who deny the existence of a political science, and believe that ethics cannot be made to include politics, have ardent supporters in the Roman clergy of three centuries ago. The Venetian theorists who could be caught were burnt at Rome. One, who did not trust himself in Roman hands, was badly wounded near his own door. This was the famous Father Paul, whose History of the Council of Trent issued from this controversy. He was a Servite monk and theological adviser to the government, and the emissaries who flocked from England, France, Geneva, and the German states, to see how far the Venetians would move away from Rome, believed that he was at heart a Calvinist. In reality Sarpi had more of the eighteenth century than of the sixteenth in his turn of mind, and stood far aloof from the doctrines over which his contemporaries contended, and the expectations entertained of his countrymen were illusory. The city was placed under an interdict, and the orders that were faithful to Rome departed across the Lagoon, singing hymns. The Pope looked about for means of coercion when Henry mediated. He owed much to Venice, which was the first of the Catholic Powers to recognise him. In action, he called to his men to watch where his white plume waved, and to follow wherever they saw it. In gratitude to the Republic he presented it with his suit of armour, which is still conspicuous at the Arsenal, the helmet still displaying the famous feather, changed to a melancholy yellow. Henry induced both parties to yield something of their extreme attitude, and prevented a collision. No such conflict has ever since occurred in Europe.

The other great event in his foreign policy was his protectorate of the Netherlands. By his influence, pursued through an intricate negotiation, the twelve years' truce was concluded. Spain would not consent to a permanent treaty, and when the Thirty Years' War broke out, again fought with her ancient enemy. It was during this truce that the best-known events of Dutch history occurred—the Synod of Dort, the suppression of the Republicans and Arminians by Maurice of Nassau, when he put Olden Barnevelt to death, and compelled the most illustrious of all Dutchmen, Grotius, to make his escape packed in a box of books.

After some years of prosperous tranquillity, Henry IV found himself the first personage in Europe. He had done much for the army, something for the finances and the national wealth. He was watching for an opportunity to break the power of the Habsburgs, which surrounded him everywhere, and threatened Amiens, not a hundred miles from Paris. He relied on Protestant alliances, and did not despair of the Pope. From Sully's Memoirs, and also from other sources, we learn the lines upon which he schemed to remodel the map of Europe. The Memoirs are not written by Sully himself, and have been tampered with. The Grand Design was never executed, never even attempted, and need not be discussed. Henry boasted to the Spanish ambassador that he would lose no time over Italy; that he would breakfast at Milan, hear mass at Rome, and dine at Naples. "Then," said the Spaniard, "you will be in time for vespers in Sicily." Before starting for his expedition Henry had his queen crowned, that she might act as regent in his absence. On his way to arrange the ceremony of her entrance into Paris he met his death. Rumours of a plot had reached him and made him nervous. While the conspirators were watching for him to pass, a solitary fanatic, Ravaillac, drove a knife between his ribs, and gave a respite to the House of Austria.

Henry's institutions broke down immediately after his death. His widow, Mary of Medici, was unequal to the task of continuing a policy of independent action, relying on no group of friends and on no established force of opinion. The clergy influenced her as they had never influenced her husband. The princes of the blood, the great nobles, the Protestants, became turbulent; and the states-general, summoned for the last time before Lewis XVI, afforded no assistance: The queen gave her confidence to Concini, a Florentine like herself, whom she created a marshal of France. Her son, Lewis XIII, ordered him to be killed in the courtyard of the palace; and his wife, the queen's foster-sister, was put to death by complaisant judges. The young king's favourite, Luynes, governed for a time, until the queen obtained the first post for an adviser of her own, who was the strongest Frenchman of the old regime.

With Richelieu, as with all great men, we do well to ascertain low-water mark, that praise and admiration may not be carried too far. He was not a good administrator, for he considered the general interest, not that of any number of individual men. Every Frenchman had felt the benefit of Henry's appeasing wisdom, and a season of prosperity had ensued. But no individual was the better for Richelieu's eighteen years of supreme office. He wasted the treasure of ambitious enterprises, and sacrificed the happiness of the people to the greatness of the king. No man was richer in sagacious maxims, or in experience of mankind; but he was destitute of principle—I mean of political principles, which are the guide of public life as moral principles are the guide of our private lives. To serve his deliberate purpose, he shrank from no arbitrary or violent excess, putting innocent men to death without scruple, if he thought them dangerous. In such cases, he said, it is better to do too much than too little. He retained a superstitious belief in magic, and never soared above his age with the vision of great truths and prevision of the things to come. But he understood and relentlessly pursued the immediate purpose of his time.

The work of Henry IV had been undone during his son's minority, and had to be begun over again. The crown was only one among many rival forces. Richelieu decided that they should all be made subject and subservient, that the government alone should govern, not any men or any group behind the government, striving for their own ends. He meant that there should be no dominant interest but the reason of State, no authority but the sovereign, no will but his own. He pursued this object with perfect distinctness and resolution, and had succeeded when he died in 1642.

The court was an obstacle. The queen-mother, who had made his fortune, went against him, and the king's brother became a pivot of conspiracy. For a moment, they triumphed. Lewis withdrew his confidence from the too imperious and successful minister, who had made his master so powerful and so helpless; but in one short interview the cardinal recovered his position. The queen retired from the council, went out of the country, and died, an exile, in the house of Rubens at Cologne. When the greatest nobles of France, strong in their feudal traditions, rose against his new, and illegal, and oppressive authority, Richelieu repressed every attempt, and cut off the head of every offender. For he said that clemency was the bane of France.

The Huguenots, safe but not satisfied under Henry, had felt that they were in danger after his death, and sought to transform the self-government ceded to them at Nantes into a defensive association against the sovereign. The spectre of federalism threatened the hard-won unity of France, and challenged the very essence of Richelieu's policy. The decisive struggle took place at La Rochelle. Richelieu directed the siege himself, carrying out works as enormous as those of the siege of Tyre, and infusing his spirit into men who did not see that the political issue was superior to the military. The English fleet outside was helpless to assist, and the starving town yielded to the clerical warrior. Many thousands had perished, fighting, as they averred, for toleration, in reality for predominance.

The fall of Rochelle was the end of political Protestantism in France as it issued from the civil war; of the attempt to imitate that which the League had done, and to build up a confederation too strong for the State. But the strictly religious privileges conceded thirty years earlier were immediately renewed, and they were faithfully observed. What Richelieu resisted implacably was disintegration, not Calvinism. He had no difficulty in tolerating religious dissent. He would not tolerate political opposition. Richelieu was a bishop, a cardinal, a practised writer of theological controversy, a passionately resolved defender of the national unity, and of the French patriotism, which the religious struggle had imperilled, but he was not intolerant. Under him, and under his successor, the Sicilian Cardinal Mazarin, the religion which had been thought so dangerous was allowed to prosper, and the highest offices were crowded with Huguenots. The rapid expansion of French power was largely due to this policy. It was then that the French proved superior to the Spaniards in war, and the long supremacy of Spain came to an end on land half a century after it had terminated at sea. Several of the marshals were Protestants, including Turenne, the most illustrious of them all. The tolerant spirit of the ecclesiastical statesmen caused the rise of France, and its decline followed the intolerance of Lewis XIV.

Richelieu, if not deeply religious, was thoroughly a Churchman; but his attitude towards Protestants separated him, on most fundamental points, from the Spanish and Roman persecutors, and he differed considerably from the great divines of the preceding generation. He had just come to power when a book was published at Rome by Sanctarelli renewing the theories of Bellarmin and Suarez, which had excited the indignant resentment of the university and the Parliament. Richelieu required the Paris Jesuits to renounce the doctrines which their brethren proclaimed essential to orthodoxy. And they did what he required of them, accepting, in France, the sentiments of France, and protesting, at Rome, that they retained the sentiments of Rome. They became the friends of their very arbitrary protector. When Father Caussin, the king's confessor, warned him against the cardinal's wars, and his Protestant alliances, his superiors agreed to remove him.

Richelieu refused allegiance to system or party, and opposed the Jansenist and the Gallican as he did the Jesuit extreme. He desired to be aided, not hampered, by the Church and cultivated as much independence as allowed friendship with Rome. Towards the end of his life it was his object to become patriarch of France. The Pope who reigned in his time had been in France when Cardinal Barberini. He was a pontiff of a modern type, when compared with many of his recent predecessors; and it was in his pontificate that the Roman Inquisition put out its fires. He did not escape the influence of the Frenchman's more vigorous personality. He shared his dread of the Habsburgs and his interest in Gustavus, but they came to a breach at last.

It was in Richelieu's time, and under his auspices, that the great division occurs between the modern Papacy and the medieval, which the Counter-Reformation had revived. The striking contrast between France under Richelieu and France under Lewis XIV is the tolerance of the one and the intolerance of the other. But no spirit of independence could be safe under the absolutism which the cardinal inaugurated, and which was a glaring inconsistency as long as consciences were free. The change, which was sure to come, came when, under very peculiar constellations, Lewis XIV desired to show that he was a better Catholic than the Pope.

The cardinal never abandoned the hope of healing the division of churches, which was a calamity in his eyes, both as a statesman and a divine. He provided for Huguenot ministers who were reconciled, and he made serious plans to prepare for reunion, plans which Bossuet resumed, but which had to be given up when the king resorted to violence. The deepest part of the scheme to exalt the throne was the endeavour to raise France above the nations. The opportunity was afforded by the Thirty Years' War. All Europe was involved, the Protestant Powers uniting against the House of Habsburg, which, by tradition, by pretension, and by its actual position and power, was the one constant obstacle to the desired supremacy of the French king. Richelieu assisted them, and ended by openly joining them. Once he said, "I will prove to the world that the age of Spain is passing away and the age of France has come."

It was the contrast of two different epochs of civilisation, of two worlds succeeding each other, rather than a conflict of rival Powers. Spain was inseparably united with the Church and a declared enemy to the rest of Christendom. France lived at peace with Protestants, and based her policy on their support, having political but not religious enemies to combat, gaining all that Spain lost by exclusiveness. It was the adoption of a new doctrine. The interest of the State above the interest of the Church, of the whole above the aggregate of parts, determined the foreign as well as the domestic policy of the statesmanlike prelate. The formidable increase of State power, in the form of monarchy, was an event of European proportion and significance. General History naturally depends on the action of forces that are not national, but proceed from wider causes. The rise of modern kingship in France is part of a similar movement in England. Bourbon's and Stuarts obeyed the same law, though with a different result.

The Rise of the Whigs

THE LIBERAL ideas bred in sectarian circles, here And in America, did not become the common property of mankind until they were detached from their theological root, and became the creed of a party. That is the transition which occupies the reign of Charles II. It is the era in which parties took the place of churches as a political force.

A gentleman has written to remind me that the Independents did not jointly or corporately renounce the connection between Church and State, or assert religious liberty as a principle of government. They did individually that which they never did collectively, and such individuals were acting conformably to the logic of the system. In the Petition of 1616 they say, "We deny also a national, a provincial, and diocesan church under the Gospel to be a true, visible, political church." John Robinson writes: "It is the Church of England, or State Ecclesiastical, which we account Babylon, and from which we withdraw in spiritual communion." In 1644 we are told: "Godwin is a bitter enemy to presbytery, and is openly for a full liberty of conscience, to all sects, even Turks, Jews, Papists." The author of the tract, "What the Independents would have", writes that he thinks it a sin either to follow an erring conscience or to go against it; but to oppose it the greater sin, for he that will do the least sin against conscience is prepared in disposition to do the greatest. Therefore he reckons liberty of conscience to be England's chiefest good.

When I said that the English exiles in Holland came in contact with the most spiritual remnant of the Reformers, I meant the German Anabaptists. The English Baptists and the Quakers were as much opposed to the principle of persecution as the Independents I have quoted.

Only two conditions were imposed on Charles II before he came over. One of these was liberty of conscience. Cromwell had died without leaving behind him an established Constitution, and his lieutenants succeeded no better than his son. The army refused to obey a parliament of their own creating, the remnant which remained when Pride expelled the majority. It was a parliament founded not on law but on violence, on the act of men thirsting for the king's blood. The simplest solution was to restore the Long Parliament, to give power to the Presbyterian majority, which had been excluded, and was not responsible for the miscarriages and the constitutional instability of the last eleven years. The idea was so obvious that it occurred to everybody—to Monk in Scotland, to Fairfax at York, and to the army which Lambert collected to meet Monk at Newcastle, and which dispersed without fighting for its own imperial supremacy.

It is worth while to study, in the second volume of Guizot's "Richard Cromwell", the consummate policy with which Monk prepared the desired result. For the recall of the excluded members was the restoration to power of men who had persisted in negotiating with Charles I, of men who had been Royalists in season and out of season. They were no friends of arbitrary government; but it was certain that they would restore the monarchy. A premature rising of incautious Royalists was put down; and the object of Monk was to gain time, until the blindest could perceive what was inevitable. His hand was forced by Fairfax, who was ill with gout, but had himself lifted into the saddle, and raised Yorkshire for a free parliament. Under that flag Monk crossed the Tweed at Coldstream on New Year's Day. He was already the master of England, and met with no resistance on the way to Westminster. The Republicans, in their extremity, offered him the crown, which Monk refused. He likewise refused the offers of the king, who would have made him chancellor and grand constable, besides making lavish grants of money, which the general was believed to like. He knew that he was sure of his reward when the time came. It came quickly. The Long Parliament made way for a Convention Parliament, which renewed the fundamental laws, and finally abolished the feudal rights of the crown. Whilst these bills were being voted, Charles issued the Declaration of Breda, proposed by Monk, and resumed the crown without a struggle.

The nation was glad to escape from the misgovernment of the Republic, which had weighed heavily on numerous classes, and believed that the crown had received a lesson which could not be forgotten. The new government was not imposed by a victorious monarchy. It was an expression of the national wish. Parliament retained control, and there was no political reaction.

The changes now introduced went to strengthen not the prerogative, but the gentry, who were the governing class. They were relieved from the payment of feudal dues, by means of a tax which fell on other classes; members were taken from the towns and added to the country districts; and the militia, which was to protect society from the parliamentary army, was placed in the hands of the gentry. The new order of things was the work not of a party, but of a class. The dominant cavaliers were willing to refuse a share in their power to the old Puritan enemy, and passed every measure for inflicting disabilities on the Nonconformists. They were excluded from all offices, in the Church and in the State, even in the municipalities. In this way, by a religious test, the class that consisted mainly of Churchmen secured all political authority for themselves. They, however, added a political test. They imposed an oath in favour of non-resistance. Nobody could hold office who was not what was afterwards known as a Tory. This was Anglican doctrine; and the clergy set to work to rule the country in conjunction with the conservative country gentlemen, on a basis of principles laid down by Hobbes, the philosopher of the day, who denied the right, and even the existence of conscience.

Clarendon was minister; and it was an ingenious and politic thing in his eyes to suppress the Roundhead by suppressing the Presbyterian. He had reflected more deeply than any man then living on the problem of Church and State; and he did not believe in the sacred fixity of divisions founded on schemes of Church government only. Archbishop Ussher had made great concessions to the Presbyterians. Baxter had made concessions to Prelacy. The see of Hereford was offered to him, and it was thought he might accept it. Leighton, who was as much the greatest Puritan divine in Scotland as Baxter in England, did accept the offer of a mitre, and became Archbishop of Glasgow. The restored government was intolerant, because, by intolerance, it could exercise political repression. This did not apply to the Catholics. Clarendon had pledged himself that they should profit by the indulgence which was afterwards promised at Breda. When he adopted the policy of coercion against the Puritans, he was unable to keep his promise. The unnatural situation could not last after his fall. The Puritans had made war upon the throne, and the Catholics had defended it. When it was restored, they proclaimed their principles in a series of voluntary declarations which dealt with the customary suspicions and reproaches, and fully satisfied the purpose aimed at by the oath of allegiance. No people could be more remote from the type of Allen and Parsons than the English Benedictines and the Irish Franciscans who hailed the revived monarchy. Against such men the old argument of Elizabethan persecutors was vain.

After the fall of Clarendon a different policy was attempted. The rigid exclusiveness of the Puritans had bequeathed one sinister vice to the English people. They were complacent in their insularity, and had a prejudice against the foreigner. It had been directed against Spain, for the sake of Plate fleets to seize and coasts to pillage; and now it was strongest against the Dutch, who were dangerous rivals by sea, both in peace and war. It was least, at that time, against France, whose great statesman, Mazarin, had made terms with the Republic, and retained the friendship of the restored king. A trivial dispute on the Guinea Coast was fanned into a quarrel by the Duke of York, who was a sailor, and who hoped to strengthen his position at home by his professional skill, in which he only partially succeeded. This is the war that terminated in the memorable change of front of the Triple Alliance, uniting the Dutch, the English, and the Swedes against France. It was a popular but totally ineffective measure; and in 1669 England abandoned her allies and went over to France. Lewis XIV accomplished this important diplomatic success by the Treaty of Dover, the first in the process of events that overthrew the Stuart monarchy, and brought in the modern type of Constitution.

Soon after his return to England, Charles opened negotiations with Rome, which were carried on through one of his sons, born before Monmouth, who became a Jesuit; and he vainly endeavoured to obtain supplies from Alexander VII. Later on, he sought them in France. It was impossible, he said, to restore the royal authority unless it was done through the restoration of Catholicism. That could be secured, if Lewis would make him independent of the House of Commons. The scheme was prepared in January 1669, Arlington consenting, for a bribe of L12,000. It was decided to restore the Catholic Church in England by such a display of force as should be sufficient to raise the crown above the restraints of parliament. In execution of the design Lewis advanced L80,000, and undertook, in case of resistance, to furnish a force of 6000 men, to be a French garrison in England, for the repression of Protestants. The sum was much less than Charles demanded, for the object of the French king was not to strengthen, but to weaken him. The second point in the Treaty was that England engaged to support France in any claims she might have upon Spain. Lastly, England was to help her ally against Holland, in return for further payments and the annexation of Walcheren. But it was agreed to postpone the Dutch war until the year 1672. That is the solid substance of the phantom which is called the Popish Plot.

It was, in reality, a plot, under cover of Catholicism, to introduce absolute monarchy, and to make England a dependency of France, not only by the acceptance of French money, but by submission to a French army. Charles I and his ministers had gone to the block for less than this.

If the thing should become known, nobody could foretell the consequences. Turenne was told, because he would be wanted if it came to blows; and Turenne told a lady of his acquaintance, who proved indiscreet. The king, in a fury, asked him how he could be such a fool. The marshal, not unaccustomed to the experience of being under fire, replied that he was not the only man who had been made a fool of by a woman, and King Lewis XIV did not see his way to pursue the conversation. His political object was secured, even if nothing should be done in England to fulfil the agreement. He had Charles completely in his power. The secret text only needed to be divulged, in order to raise the country against him. He never again could be formidable. If all other devices for dividing him from his people were insufficient, this one could not fail. Many years later Lewis caused a book to be printed, by an Italian adventurer, in which the secret was revealed. The book was suppressed and the author imprisoned, for the sake of appearances. But 155 copies were in circulation, and the culprit was released after six days. It became dangerous for Charles to meet parliament. The facts became known to Shaftesbury long before, and determined his course from the time of his dismissal from office, in November 1673. The scheme laid down in the Dover Treaty was a dangerous one, and after the beginning of the Dutch war there were no French troops to spare.

Charles tried another way to gain his purpose. Both he and his brother desired to establish Catholicism for its own sake. They were not converts, but they intended to be before they died. The difference was that James was ready to make some sacrifice for his religion, Charles was not. They both regarded it as the only means of putting the crown above the law. This could be done more safely by claiming the right to dispense from penalties and disabilities imposed by parliament. The idea, entertained as early as 1662, ripened ten years later, when the Penal Laws, as well as the intolerant legislation of Clarendon against the Puritans, which had been considered the safeguard of monarchy, were declared inoperative. The ministers, including Shaftesbury, expected to obtain the support of Nonconformists. This calculation proved delusive. The Dissenters, on an assurance that they would be relieved by parliament if they resisted the offers of the king, refused to accept them. The object of his declaration was too apparent, and was indeed too openly avowed. Just then the Duke of York became a Catholic, and although the fact was not made public, it was suspected. Ministers advised Charles to maintain his offer of indulgence and his claim to the dispensing power. Charles gave way and accepted his defeat. He gave way because Lewis advised it, and promised him more French regiments than had been stipulated for, as soon as he was again at peace with the Dutch.

The House of Commons followed up its victory by passing the Test Act, excluding Catholics from office. The Duke of York resigned his post as Lord High Admiral. It was, he said, the beginning of the scheme for depriving him of the succession to the throne. In November 1673 Shaftesbury, who had promoted the Declaration of Indulgence, was dismissed from office and went into opposition, for the purposes of which Lewis sent him L10,000. He learnt from Arlington the main particulars of the Treaty of Dover, and in the following month of January the secret was substantially made public in a pamphlet, which is reprinted in the State Tracts. From that moment he devoted himself to the exclusion of James.

In 1676 the Duke of York made it known that he had become a Catholic. This was so gratuitous that people took it to mean that he was strong in the support which the French king gave him. He was still true to the policy of the Dover Treaty, which his brother had abandoned, and still watched his opportunity to employ force for the restoration of his Church. All this was fully understood, and his enemy, Shaftesbury, was implacable.

When he had been five years out of office, in September 1678, Titus Oates appeared. Who the people were who brought him forward, with the auxiliary witnesses, Bedloe, Dangerfield, and Turberville, the one who received L600 for his evidence against Stafford, is still unknown. Shaftesbury was not the originator. He would not have waited so many years. His part in the affair was to employ the public alarm for the destruction of the Duke of York. Therefore, from the summer of 1678 there was a second plot. The first, consisting in the Treaty of Dover, drawn up by the Catholic advisers, Arundel, Bellasis, the historian Belling, and Leighton, the great archbishop's brother. The second was the Protestant plot against the Catholics, especially the Duke of York. The indignation against the real plot, that of Dover, was essentially political.

In February 1675 the opposition proposed to James to restore his offices if he would abandon Lewis. When the imperial ambassador, in July 1677, complained of the No Popery cry, they replied that there was no question of religion, but of liberty. In the case of Oates and his comrades, the political motive faded into insignificance beside the religious. At first the evidence was unsubstantial. Oates was an ignorant man, and he obtained credit only by the excitement and distrust caused by the discovery of the premeditated coup d'etat. Godfrey, the magistrate who conducted the inquiry, warned James that the secretary of the Duchess of York, was implicated. His name was Coleman, and he had time to destroy his papers. Some of them were seized. They spoke of a great blow which was being prepared against the Protestants. It appeared also that he was in the pay of Lewis, and had solicited his confessor, Pere La Chaise, for a sum of L300,000 in order to get rid of parliament. It was argued that if such things were found in the papers he had not burnt, there must have been worse still in those which had perished. It showed that the scheme of Dover was still pursued, was still a danger. At that moment the magistrate who sent the warning disappeared. After some days his dead body was found at the foot of Green Berry Hill, now Primrose Hill; and one of the most extraordinary coincidences, so interesting in the study of historical criticism, is the fact that the men hanged for the murder were named Green, Berry, and Hill. It was of course suspected that Godfrey had perished because he knew too much.

For some time the excitement rose very high. On the day when two Jesuits were executed, one of the Catholic envoys writes that nothing else could have saved the lives of all the Catholics in London. Taking advantage of the state of public feeling, Shaftesbury proposed that James should be excluded from the succession for his religion. The crown was to go to the next heir, the Princess of Orange. This was thrown out by the Lords. Meantime the second Test Act expelled the Catholic peers from the House of Lords. James withdrew from the council, from the palace, and at last from the kingdom.

The second Exclusion Bill was founded, not on his religion, but on his politics, that is, his treasonable connection with the King of France. The opponents of exclusion proposed limitation of the royal power, in a manner such as that which has since prevailed. Charles preferred this amendment to the Constitution rather than an Act which enabled parliament to regulate the succession. William of Orange vigorously opposed it, as the same restraints might be retained when his wife came to the throne. Halifax, who defeated the Exclusion Bill and defended the Limitation Bill, assured the prince that it would never be applied, as James had no chance whatever of succeeding his brother. His only purpose in proposing his Bill was to preserve the succession, according to law, from parliamentary control.

In order to obtain evidence that should ruin James's prospects, it was resolved now to put the Catholic peers on their trial. Stafford came first. He had not been in the secret of the fatal Treaty. But the plans this time were cleverly laid. Although Lord Stafford was entirely innocent, Count Thun, the Austrian envoy, was profoundly impressed by the weight of the case against him and the weakness of the defence. He was beheaded amid shrieks of execration and exultation. Arundel was to come next; and Arundel did know enough to compromise the duke. But the plan had failed. Nothing had been discovered in Stafford's trial that could help the exclusion; and a revulsion of popular feeling followed. Monmouth was now put forward. If James could not be excluded he must make way for Monmouth, if Monmouth was legitimate. The king was pressed to acknowledge him. A black box was said to contain the necessary evidence of his mother's marriage. A bishop was spoken of who knew all about it. Monmouth himself accepted the idea. When the Duke of Plymouth died he refused to wear mourning. He would not mourn, he said, for a brother who was illegitimate. After the Test Act, the Exclusion Bill, the succession of Monmouth, the indefatigable Shaftesbury had still one resource. He tried an insurrection. When he found it impossible to draw the line between insurrection and murder, he thought the position dangerous, and went abroad. Russell and Sidney were put to death. Charles was victorious over his enemies. He owed his victory to the French king, who gave him L700,000, and enabled him to exist without a parliament for three years.

It was during this struggle against the overshadowing suspicion of the Dover Treaty that the Habeas Corpus Act was passed, and that Party took shape in England. In general, the old cavalier families, led by the clergy and the lawyers, acquiesced in the royal prerogative, the doctrine of passive obedience, the absolute and irresistible authority of that which Hobbes called Leviathan, meaning the abstract notion of the State. They had a passion for order, not for oppression; good government was as dear to them as to their opponents, and they believed that it would not be secured if the supreme authority was called in question. That was the Court Party, known as Tories. As time went on, after the Revolution, they underwent many developments. But at first they were simply defenders of royal authority against aggression, without any original ideas.

The Country Party was the party of reform. They were the people excluded from the public service by the oath in favour of non-resistance. They believed in the rightfulness of the war which the Long Parliament waged against the king, and were prepared, eventually, to make war against Charles II. That was the essential distinction between them and the Tories. They dreaded revolution, but, in an extreme case, they thought it justifiable. "Acts of tyranny," said Burnet, "will not justify the resistance of subjects, yet a total subversion of their constitution will." When Burnet and Tillotson urged this doctrine on Lord Russell, he replied that he did not see a difference between a legal and a Turkish Constitution, upon this hypothesis.

Whig history exhibits a gradual renunciation of Burnet's mitigated doctrine, that resistance is only justified by extreme provocation, and a gradual approach to the doctrine of Russell, on which the American Revolution proceeded. The final purpose of the Whigs was not distinct from that of their fathers in the Long Parliament. They desired security against injustice and oppression. The victors in the Civil War sought this security in a Republic, and in this they conspicuously failed. It was obvious that they made a mistake in abolishing the monarchy, the Established Church, and the House of Lords. For all these things came back, and were restored as it were by the force of Nature, not by the force of man.

The Whigs took this lesson of recent experience to heart. They thought it unscientific to destroy a real political force. Monarchy, Aristocracy, Prelacy, were things that could be made innocuous, that could be adjusted, limited and preserved. The very essence of the new Party was compromise. They saw that it is an error to ride a principle to death, to push things to an extreme, to have an eye for one thing only, to prefer abstraction to realities, to disregard practical conditions. They were a little disappointing, a little too fond of the half-way house. Their philosophy, or rather their philosopher, John Locke, is always reasonable and sensible, but diluted and pedestrian and poor. They became associated with great interests in English society, with trade, and banking, and the city, with elements that were progressive, but exclusive, and devoted to private, not to national ends. So far as they went, they were in the right, ethically as well as politically. But they proceeded slowly beyond the bare need of the moment. They were a combination of men rather than a doctrine, and the idea of fidelity to comrades was often stronger among them than the idea of fidelity to truths. General principles were so little apparent in the system that excellent writers suppose that the Whigs were essentially English, Nonconformists, associated with limited monarchy, unfit for exportation over the world. They took long to outgrow the narrow limits of the society in which they arose. A hundred years passed before Whiggism assumed the universal and scientific character. In the American speeches of Chatham and Camden, in Burke's writings from 1778 to 1783, in the Wealth of Nations, and the tracts of Sir William Jones, there is an immense development. The national bounds are overcome. The principles are sacred, irrespective of interests. The charter of Rhode Island is worth more than the British Constitution, and Whig statesmen toast General Washington, rejoice that America has resisted, and insist on the acknowledgment of independence. The progress is entirely consistent; and Burke's address to the colonists is the logical outcome of the principles of liberty and the notion of a higher law above municipal codes and constitutions, with which Whiggism began.

It is the supreme achievement of Englishmen, and their bequest to the nations; but the patriarchs of the doctrine were the most infamous of men. They set up the monument to perpetuate the belief that the Catholics set fire to London. They invented the Black Box and the marriage of Lucy Waters. They prompted, encouraged, and rewarded the murderer Oates. They proclaimed that the Prince of Wales came in the warming pan. They were associated with the Rye House assassins; that conspiracy was their ruin. Charles triumphed, and did not spare his enemies. When he died, in spite of the Dover Treaty, of his paid subserviency to France, of the deliberate scheme to subvert the liberties of England, James, the chief culprit, succeeded, with undiminished power. The prostrate Whigs were at the mercy of Jeffreys.

But forty years of agitation had produced the leaven that has leavened the world. The revolutionary system was saved, because the king threw away his advantage. The Whig party became supreme in the State by a series of events which are the most significant in English History.

The Huguenots and the League

WHEN THE religious frontiers were fixed in the rest of Europe, in France, the most important state of all, they were still unsettled. There the struggle was obstinate and sanguinary, and lasted more than thirty years, ending, towards the close of the century, with the triumph of the Crown over the nation, and the State over the Church.

Although the French had had at least one reformer before the Reformation, and were prepared by the Gallican system for much divergence from prevailing forms of medieval Catholicism; they received the new ideas as an importation from Germany. In that shape, as Lutheranism, they never became an important force in the country, though there was, a time of comparative toleration, followed, after 1535, by the severities which at that time became usual in Europe. The number of victims in the last years of Francis I is supposed to have been eighty-five or a little more. Luther, in his life and thought, presented so many characteristics of the exclusively German type as to repel the French, who, during many years of that generation, were at war with Germany. After his death, the first man among the reformers was a Frenchman, and the system as he recast it was more congenial. Calvinism possessed the important faculty of self-government, whilst Lutheranism required to be sustained by the civil power. For these reasons the Calvinistic doctrines obtained a far more favourable hearing, and it is in that shape only that the Reformation struck root in France.

King Henry II, who had been educated in Spain, where he was detained as a hostage, was resolutely intolerant, and when the general peace was concluded he turned his thoughts to the state of religion. He made an attempt to introduce the Inquisition, but was killed in a tourney before he had achieved his purpose. The Protestants at that time were estimated by Calvin at about 300,000, and in certain districts they were increasing rapidly. They had two translations of the Bible, and a celebrated book of hymns; and they now began to combine and organise. They were strongest in Dauphiny, which was near Geneva, and at Lyons, which was a centre of trade. Then they spread to Normandy, and in the west, and as time went by it became difficult to say which part of the country or which class of the population was most deeply influenced by their doctrine. No province ever became Protestant, and hardly any town. There never was any prospect that the Reformation would prevail; but at first, in the tide of early expansion, this was not quite evident, and they dreamt, not of liberty only, but of predominance. They did not profess the liberal principle, and never repudiated the maxim of their chief at Geneva regarding the repression of other sects. They thought it a life and death struggle, persuaded that the Catholics were irreconcilable, and impossible fellow-subjects and neighbours. By image-breaking, assaults on processions, and general violence, they made the part of tolerant Catholics difficult to play. As a religious body, guided by the counsels of Calvin, they should have professed passive obedience. But they were associated with vast political interests, and with men less eager about points of doctrine than about affairs of state, who brought them into action against the government. As there were princes of the blood among them, and even crowned heads, resistance to the authority of the day was not felt to be seditious. In this way it came to pass that while Calvin at Geneva was preaching non-resistance, Calvinists in France formed an armed opposition and became involved in plots.

As the new king was too young to govern, Queen Catharine, his mother, became nominal regent; but as he was married to Mary Stuart, her uncles governed the kingdom. One of them was the Duke of Guise, the conqueror of Calais, and the most popular soldier in France. His brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, one of the most conspicuous ecclesiastics of the age, was a Gallican prelate, obnoxious to Rome, and willing to concede much in favour of the Confession of Augsburg as an arm against Geneva, maintaining his power by every means, and an avowed and unshrinking advocate of assassination. Against the administration of these men, princes and Protestants combined. Their plans were detected; many accomplices were put to death at Amboise, and the Prince of Conde was arrested, tried, and in imminent danger of execution, when Francis II died, and the reign of the Guises was at an end.

Catharine, whose effective regency now began in the name of Charles IX, her second son, rested on the moderates. There was so little passion in her religion that people doubted whether there was much conviction. When Pius V proffered advice as to the king's marriage, she replied that he was old enough to act for himself, without foreign interference. She assured Elizabeth that she would have no objection if she treated her Catholics as Protestants were treated in France on St. Bartholomew's day. Once, on the report of a Protestant victory, she declared that she was quite ready to say her prayers in French. In Italy, her want of zeal made people suppose that she was at heart a Huguenot. She encouraged the liberal and conciliatory legislation of L'Hopital; for the most striking feature of the time is the sudden outbreak of tolerant opinion.

To arrest this surrender of Counter-Reformation policy, and the ruin which it portended to the Church in France, Guise fell upon a congregation of Protestants, and mingled their blood with their sacrifices. This is the massacre of Vassy, which provoked the wars of religion. They lasted, with intervals, sometimes of several years, for a whole generation, and effaced the country as a European Power. This long obliteration protracted the struggle in the Netherlands, led to the fall of Mary Stuart, and assisted the triumphant rise and growth of England in the middle years of Elizabeth. During the sixties Coligny advanced steadily to the highest place in his party and in the State, and he repeatedly secured terms which satisfied the Protestant leaders, though at the expense of their followers.

The third war of religion, the war of 1569, in which the Huguenots were defeated in the historic battles of Jarnac and Moncontour, had been so devastating that the government lost the disposition to go on fighting, and counsels of moderation prevailed. Coligny, summoned to advise, was listened to with attention, and a marriage was decided on between the king's sister, Margaret of Valois, and Henry of Bourbon, the young King of Navarre, whose birthright made him the head of the Protestant interest. Before the wedding was celebrated a change occurred in the European situation which profoundly affected the policy of France. The revolt broke out in the Netherlands, the real revolt, which was not the work of Belgian nobles, but of the Water Beggars, who took advantage of the maritime configuration, and accomplished the deliverance of the northern provinces.

This was Coligny's opportunity. It was the manifest policy of France to intervene, now that the conflict was a serious one, and to rectify the frontier along the line of peril, by which the capital was exposed to attack. What could not have been attempted while Alva held the provinces in subjection, was possible now that his power was shaken to its foundation. England was an obstacle, because England preferred Spanish masters in the Low Countries to French; but it was possible to negotiate compensation with Elizabeth; and Charles IX, under pressure from Coligny, concluded a treaty with her. He also decided that a Protestant force should join the Flemish insurgents in their operations against the Duke of Alva. If they succeeded, their success was to be followed up, and the merit of the expected conquest would be theirs. Conciliation and peace at home would be purchased by victories over the Spaniard. If they failed, they would be disavowed. Accordingly, in July 1572, an expedition under Genlis went to the relief of Mons, and was betrayed and defeated. The Huguenots had had their opportunity and had made nothing of it. The perfidy of the French government was detected, and the king, in his embarrassment, denounced the invaders, and urged Alva to make short work with prisoners. At the same time, he did not give up the scheme that had begun so badly, the scheme for the conquest of Flanders by a forlorn hope of Huguenots.

Coligny was to have another chance of securing liberty by the splendour of his services to the country, and the wedding of the Princess Margaret of Valois with Navarre, in defiance of the Pope's refusal of the requisite dispensation, proclaimed that the court had gone over to the Protestants. France was on the brink of a war with Spain, in which the admiral would have the command of her armies. It was to be a war for Protestant dominance, with France at the head of the Protestant interest in Europe, and Protestants in high offices at home. Queen Catharine was resolved not to submit to their ascendency, and she knew a short way out of it. There was a blood-feud of nine years' standing between the House of Guise and the admiral who had never succeeded in vindicating himself from the suspicion that he was cognisant of the murder of the former Duke of Guise at the siege of Orleans. They were glad to obtain their revenge; and one of their bravos, after two days' watching, shot Coligny, wounding him severely but not mortally. His friends, who were collected at Paris in large numbers, insisted on satisfaction. Catharine then informed her son that there could be no punishment and no inquiry, that the real culprit was herself, and that if anything was done, by way of justice, Guise would cast upon her all the ignominy of the attempt, all the ignominy of its failure. Nothing could save her but the immediate destruction of Coligny and his chief adherents, all conveniently within reach. The king hesitated. Not from any scruple; for when the Parliament had offered a reward for the capture of the admiral, he had obliged them to add the words—alive or dead. But he hesitated to surrender the hope of annexing Flanders, the constant and necessary object of national policy.

Late in the day after that on which Coligny received his wound, the civic authorities were warned to hold their men in readiness, when the bell of the church near the Louvre, St. Germain of Auxerre, rang the tocsin. This was the beginning of that alliance between the rural aristocracy of Catholic France and the furious democracy of the capital which laid the inauspicious foundation of the League. Their objects were not entirely the same. The Parisian populace were indiscriminately murderous and cruel, killing every Huguenot they knew. The Spanish envoy wrote: "not a child has been spared. Blessed be God!" Guise had his thoughts fixed on political enemies. Some Protestant officers who lived beyond the Seine, hearing the tumult, took horse and made off before it reached them, and were pursued by Guise for many hours along the north road. When Guise gave up the chase and returned to Paris, his house became a refuge for many obscure persons from whom he had nothing to fear. In his absence, the king had laid the blame upon him, and described the massacre as a result of the old quarrel between Guise and Chatillon. This was not to be borne, and another explanation was speedily devised. It was now stated that a Protestant conspiracy had been discovered, and happily crushed in time by a prompt effort in self-defence. This was suggested by the threatening attitude assumed by Coligny's friends in order to compel punishment for the attempt on his life. Both theories were adopted in dealing with England and the German princes. Whilst orders went forth to the local authorities all over France to imitate the example of the capital, every effort was made to avert a breach with the Protestant Powers.

These efforts were so successful that Elizabeth stood godmother to the daughter of Charles IX, while his brother, Henry of Anjou, was elected King of Poland by a union of parties, although his share in the slaughter was notorious. This idea soon became preponderant; and when provincial governors neglected or refused to obey the sanguinary commands, nothing was done to enforce them. The actual massacre was a momentary resolve: it was not a change of front.

The premeditation of St. Bartholomew has been a favourite controversy, like the Casket Letters; but the problem is entirely solved, although French writers, such as Guizot and Bordier, believe in it; and the Germans, especially Baumgarten and Philippson, deny it. It is perfectly certain that it was not a thing long and carefully prepared, as was believed in Rome, and those who deny premeditation in the common sense of the word are in the right. But for ten years the court had regarded a wholesale massacre as the last resource of monarchy. Catharine herself said that it had been in contemplation, if opportunity offered, from the year 1562. Initiated observers expected it from that time; and after the conference with Alva at Bayonne, in 1565, it was universally considered probable that some of the leaders, at least, would be betrayed and killed. Two cardinals, Santa Croce and Alessandrina, announced it at Rome, and were not believed. In 1569 Catharine admitted that she had offered 50,000 crowns for the head of Coligny, and corresponding sums for others. The Archbishop of Nazareth reported to the Pope in the autumn of 1570 that the Treaty of St. Germain had been concluded with the intention of slaughtering the Protestants when they were beguiled by the favourable conditions granted them, but that the agents disobeyed. He hoped that the Peace of St. Germain had the same legitimate motive and excuse, and advised that a list of proscription should be drawn up. In short, the idea had been long entertained, and had been more than once near execution. At last, the murder of Coligny was provoked by the imminent war with Spain, and the general slaughter followed. The clergy applauded, but it did not proceed from them. Excepting Sorbin at Orleans and the Jesuit Auger in the south, few of them were actual accomplices before the fact. After the energetic approval given by the court of Rome, it was not quite easy for a priest to express dissent.

One dauntless ecclesiastic warned the Pope to prohibit demonstrations which revealed the secret of the priesthood. The man who thus disturbed the unanimity of exultant cardinals was Montalto, afterwards Sixtus V, and he deserves to be recorded, because he outweighs many names. He thought so ill of his predecessor, Gregory XIII, that he was tempted to revoke the best act of his pontificate, the reformation of the Calendar; and he was quite perspicacious enough to understand that the massacre was the height of folly as well as the worst of crimes.

We have no reliable statistics of the slain. The fugitives who escaped to England spoke of one hundred thousand. At Rome they put the figure for Paris alone at sixty thousand. For the capital a basis of calculation is supplied by the number of bodies found in the river. The result would be something over two thousand. In the provinces there are reports from about forty towns. The Protestant martyrology assigns two thousand to Orleans alone. But Toussaint, one of the ministers, who was there, and had the good fortune to escape, knew only of seven hundred, and that is still the belief in the town itself. It was said that two hundred perished at Toulouse. But the president, Durand, who lost some of his own friends, and whose Memoirs were not written for the public, speaks of thirty-six. In five towns the victims amounted to between one hundred and seven hundred. In all the rest they were fewer. Taking the more authentic figures, and in cases where we cannot decide between statements that conflict, preferring the lower figure, because of the tendency to exaggerate where there is passion or excitement, we arrive at rather more than five thousand for the whole of France. The editor of Queen Catharine's correspondence, La Ferriere, urged me to make some allowance for persons who lost their lives on the byways in attempting to escape. That is a probable conjecture, but no evidence takes us as high as eight thousand. I reached that conclusion many years ago, and it is confirmed by what has since appeared, especially by the new Histoire Generale, which accepts the limit I have mentioned. The higher estimates commonly given are not based on a critical investigation. The character of the event, and of its authors and admirers, is not affected by numbers. For the massacres of September and the revolutionary tribunal wrought less bloodshed in twenty-three months than the French Catholics had done in about as many days. At a time when papal agents estimated the Huguenots at one-fifth of the entire population, the loss of five thousand, or even of eight thousand, would not seriously weaken them. It checked their increase, and injured mainly the royalist element among them, for Coligny was the leader of the party that desired to support the monarchy.

Lord Clarendon has said that it was a massacre that all pious Catholics, in the time in which it was committed, decried, abominated, and detested. There were, of course, many in France who thought it possible to be a good Christian without being a professional murderer, and who sincerely desired toleration. For such men it was impossible to continue associated with the Catholics of the League, and they were in far closer sympathy with the Protestants. In this way a new party arose, which was called the Politiques, and consisted of those whose solicitude for dogma did not entirely silence the moral sense and the voice of conscience, and who did not wish religious unity or ascendency to be preserved by crime. It was on an ethical issue that the separation took place, but it necessarily involved political consequences of a definite kind.

The Politiques became promoters of the regal authority against the aggression of the clergy, the aristocracy, and the democracy. They had their strength among the jurists and the scholars in an age when France was at the head of all scholarship and jurisprudence. The very reason of their existence was the desire to resist the influence and the spirit of Rome, and to govern France on contrary principles to those professed by ecclesiastical authority and enforced by ecclesiastical law. Therefore they strove to reduce the action of the Papacy within very strictly defined limits, to abolish ultramontanism, and to develop the Gallican theory of Church and State which French divines had produced at the reforming councils of the fifteenth century. As the clergy were subject to a Power which had encouraged extermination, they aimed at the supremacy of the secular order, of the lawyer over the priest, and of the State over the Church. They were the most intelligent advocates of the modern state in relation to society. For them, the representative of the State was the crown, and they did their utmost to raise it above the restraining forces. For the purpose that animated them the sole resource was the monarchy; and it is they who terminated the wars of religion, the League, and the Revolution, and prepared the great period of the Bourbon kings. Their ideas survive, and are familiar to the later world in the classic History of Thuanus.

The survivors closed their ranks and rapidly established a system of self-government, which sought safety in its own organisation, not in the protection of the crown. The intense conservatism of the early Protestants was already giving way in the Netherlands, and it now made way in France for the theory of resistance. A number of books appeared, asserting the inalienable right of men to control the authority by which they are governed, and more especially the right of Frenchmen, just as, in the following century, Puritan writers claimed a special prerogative in favour of Englishmen, as something distinct from the rest of mankind. The most famous is the Vindiciae contra Tyrannos, by Junius Brutus, generally attributed to Hubert Languet, but written, as I believe, by Duplessis Mornay, a man eminent as a party leader, who lost ground by entering on religious controversy. As an adherent and even a friend of Henry of Navarre, he was moderate in his language. This is the beginning of the literature of revolution. But the Huguenots quickly restrained themselves, for the same reason which, as we shall see, drove the Catholics of the League to the extremity of violence and tyrannicide. The cause of these dissimilar consequences was the problem of succession to the crown. Henry III had no children, and the future of the Valois dynasty rested on his only brother, the duke of Anjou, formerly of Alencon, the favoured and apparent suitor of Elizabeth, who by his perfidy and incompetence lost the government of the Netherlands.

In 1584 Anjou died, and nobody remained between the king and Henry of Navarre, the head of the Bourbons. Therefore, if the king died, the next heir would be the chief of the Protestants, a relapsed heretic, whom the Pope had excommunicated. It would be the ruin of the Catholics as a political party, and the renunciation of Catholicism as a system of law and authority, for a relapsed heretic was a culprit to whom the Church could show no mercy. To make him king was to defy the ecclesiastical code, and to abandon the practice of Rome and Spain for that of Germany under the Peace of Religion. The example of Denmark, of Sweden, and of England showed that a Protestant king would impose his religion on the people. They preferred to fight for the principle that a people should impose its religion on the king. This consideration was the origin of the League, as a great confederation distinct from earlier and less important associations. It was constituted out of three distinct elements: first, Guise and his partisans, who had carried on the civil wars, and were the Catholic portion of the aristocracy; then the Parisian democracy, who had acted with the others against Coligny and the Huguenots, who cherished a strong municipal spirit, and eventually created a supreme commune, such as had existed in the fourteenth century, and was seen again in 1792 and in 1871; lastly, Philip II of Spain, who gave a million crowns.

Gregory XIII bestowed a qualified sanction, which was not enough to allay the scruples of some men. Beyond the suppression of Protestantism and the restored ascendency of the Church, on which all were agreed, there was a design to develop local self-government and provincial institutions. All the liberties, they said, that had come down from Clovis, and more if possible. The League was a movement directed against the crown, even if it surrendered to them. There was an idea, vague at first, afterwards more distinct, that Guise descended from Charlemagne, and had a valid claim to the throne; and this was a rift in his alliance with the King of Spain. For Philip hoped to secure the crown of France for his own daughter Isabella, who became the ruler, and the successful ruler, of Belgium. At the time when the League was formed, in January 1585, Philip had reached the highest point in his career. He had annexed Portugal and its immense dominion. William of Orange was dead, and Farnese had already recovered an important part of the insurgent region. He had succeeded, for a quarter of a century, in avoiding a breach with Elizabeth, in spite of the expulsion of his ambassador and of Drake's victorious piracies. If he had pursued the same cautious policy, and had employed, under Farnese against the Dutch, the resources he wasted against England, he might have ended his reign in triumph. The prudence for which he was renowned deserted him when he joined the League, and then made it subservient to the purposes of the Armada. His object was that France should continue to be divided against itself, and that neither Henry III nor his own confederate Guise should prevail. While those disorders continued, and made the French powerless abroad, the expedition of the Armada was carried out, without interference, and failed by mismanagement.

Meantime, Henry III was supported in a half-hearted way by Protestants and Politiques, who did not trust him, and Guise, at the head of the population, made himself master of Paris. Henry retired to Blois. After that outrage, refusing to acknowledge that the breach was irremediable, the duke followed, and trusted himself, undefended, in his enemy's hands. Then followed the only thing by which Henry III could retain his power. He took six days to make up his mind that it was right, and then ordered Guise to be dispatched. His brother, the cardinal, met with the same fate. Catharine of Medici, who was in the castle of Blois when this happened, and also had thirty years' experience in such things, died immediately, after giving her son warning that the merit is not in the way you cut the thread, but in the way you sew it. He thought that he was safe at last, and the applause of Europe followed him on his march against the capital. He had shown so much weakness of will, such want of clearness and resource, that nobody believed he had it in him. In the eyes of Parisians he was guilty of the unpardonable sin, for he had killed the popular leader and the champion of orthodoxy. As he was also an ally of heretics and an accomplice of Navarre, a young Dominican came into his camp and stabbed him. His name was Jacques Clement, and he became a popular hero and martyr, and his example is cited by Mariana as the true type of tyrannicide. The action of the crazy friar produced effects that were not intended, for it made Henry of Navarre King of France. A long struggle awaited him before he prevailed against the League, the armed citizens of Paris, the Pope, and the King of Spain. He succeeded by the support of the Royalists and Legitimists, who detached themselves from the theological conflict, and built up an independent ideal of political right.

The Hanoverian Settlement

THE FIRST thing is to consider by what steps a government came into existence entirely different from that of England in the seventeenth century, and unlike anything that had previously been known in Europe.

The old order terminates with the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. What followed is not a development of that Act, but in contradiction to it. With the new dynasty there is a new departure. And the change was not effected by statute, but by that force which makes the law, and is above the law, the logic of facts and the opinion of the nation. The essential innovations, the cabinet, the premier, and government by party, are still without legislative sanction. The Act of Settlement was speedily unsettled. It separated the administration from the legislature by excluding placemen from the House of Commons; and it prohibited the king from visiting his foreign dominions without leave. And it required the king to be advised by the Privy Council, thereby rejecting a united cabinet, the exclusive organ of a party. Both William and, at that time, Marlborough preferred that all the leading men should be united in the administration. Before the Act of Settlement, came into operation, during the reign of Anne, the idea of a united cabinet taken from the same party had prevailed, and at last even Harley could not be tolerated by the Jacobites. If Bolingbroke had not made it impossible for George I to trust the loyalty of the Tories, the rising of 1715 would have been fatal to them. The new dynasty governed by the Whigs, that is, by one party, and by a cabinet, not by the council. As the king understood neither English nor English affairs, he very rarely presided. The cabinet decided in his absence, and then reported.

It is necessary to see what manner of man he was. A branch of the ancient Guelphic House reigned at Hanover, and had succeeded by politic and constant effort in consolidating half a dozen territories into one important principality. It was the most rising and prosperous of the German Houses. It acquired the ninth electorate in 1692; and it was manifestly appropriate when it was designated for the English succession, because the first elector, who had accomplished the greatness of his family, had married the youngest daughter of Elizabeth Stuart, the Princess Palatine, who in an evil hour was Queen of Bohemia. The Electress Sophia was a Calvinist. Her husband was a Lutheran. His predecessor, who died in 1678, had been a convert to Catholicism. Hanover had been the centre of reunion, and there were Lutheran divines there who, under the commanding influence of Leibnitz, went further than Tract No. 90 in the direction of Rome. With their easy comprehension and impartial appreciation of religious systems, the Guelphs of Hanover were not representative Protestants. Some misgivings arose in the mind of William III, and it was thought that he looked with suspicious favour on the young Frederic William, the man who afterwards drilled the battalions which Frederic the Great led to victory. A Hanoverian statesman wrote, in alarm, that William seemed to prefer the Prussian prince, because he was a Protestant, to the Hanoverian, who was a Lutheran. The implication is that the Lutherans offered less resistance to Catholicism. But the fact also was that Sophia was a Stuart by the mother's side, and did not wish too loudly to proclaim that she was not a legitimist. There was a little ostensible hesitation; and the electress so managed that the crown should seem to be forced upon her. It was part of this decorous comedy that her son never learnt English—a circumstance of the utmost value, afterwards, to England. The Electress Sophia was not perhaps a very estimable, though a very intelligent princess. But she was eighty-four when the crown came within reach, and she died of rage at an unfriendly letter from Queen Anne, betraying her Jacobite propensity.

The elector, who ascended the throne of England two months after his mother's death, was neither a tyrant, nor a coward, nor a fool; he was only unintellectual and brutally selfish. There were ladies in his company who received English titles, and offended one part of the public by their morals and the remainder by their ugliness. One was created Duchess of Kendal, and Walpole said of her that she was Queen of England if ever there was one. But she sold her influence for money, amounting sometimes to L10,000, and Walpole at last complained to his master. The king laughed in his face, and replied, in his dog-Latin, that no doubt his minister also was paid by the people whom he recommended. There was a deeper taint on his reputation. He had married the only daughter of his neighbour and kinsman, the duke of Celle, thereby securing the succession to his dominions. Her mother was not of royal birth, and she was treated so cruelly by her husband and by the Electress Sophia that she resolved to escape from her misery by flight. In her despair she accepted the assistance of Count Konigsmarck, whom the envoy Stepney described as a profligate adventurer. The secret was betrayed; the princess was divorced, and spent the long remainder of her life at Ahlden, a remote country house which had belonged to her father. This was no more than had happened in many great families tried by the temptation of irresponsible monarchy, but there was a superadded tragedy; for Count Konigsmarck disappeared and was never seen again. As part of the scheme to run away with the princess, he had transferred his services to Saxony, where he was made a general. For that reason, and still more for the persuasive supplications of his sister, the beautiful Aurora von Konigsmarck, the Elector Augustus the Strong caused some inquiry to be made. It led to no result. But Aurora became the mother of the Marshal of Saxony, who defeated the English at Fontenoy, and conquered the Austrian Netherlands for the French. From the marshal was descended George Sand, the most famous Frenchwoman of the last generation. The Hanoverian government issued a lying report, but attempted no defence. Nobody doubted that Konigsmarck had been made away with, and that the author of the crime was the King of England, whose proper destination therefore should have been not St. James's but Newgate, and indeed not Newgate but Tyburn. Such was the character that preceded the founder of our reigning line of kings, and such were the weapons in the hands of his dynastic foes.

His most dangerous enemy was the Prince of Wales; not the Stuart who held his court in Lorraine, but his own eldest son. For George II believed in the prisoner of Ahlden; believed that his mother had been cruelly treated, wrongfully accused, and unjustly divorced, and was therefore able to see his father by an exceedingly clear light. Thence arose a bitter enmity between them, and that tendency to opposition in the princes of Wales which became a family tradition and a salutary factor in the Constitution.

George I found that, as long as he respected English institutions, things went very well with him, and he made no attempt to overturn them. The fear that a sovereign who was nominally absolute in one place could never govern under a constitution in another proved to be unnecessary. His interests, and those of his continental advisers, were mainly continental. In political science he had long had the ablest counsellor in Europe at his elbow, Leibnitz, the friend of the electress. And although that great man did not enjoy unbroken favour, it was not easy to be blind to the flood of light which he poured on every subject. Leibnitz had been instrumental in securing the succession, and he abounded in expositions of constitutional policy. He professed himself so good a Whig that he attributed to that cause his unpopularity with many people in England, especially at Cambridge, and most of all at Trinity. He seems not to have known that his rival, Newton, was as good a Whig as himself, and indeed a much better one. It was characteristic of his mind ever to impute the broad divisions of opinion among men to ignorance or incapacity to understand each other. With a more scientific method, he thought that many disputes could be settled, and many adversaries reconciled. For many years it was his favourite occupation to show that there was no real cause for a breach at the Reformation, and that people called themselves Protestants not knowing what was really meant by Catholic. He assured the Catholics that the Confession of Augsburg, rightly understood, was sound Catholicism; and he assured the Lutherans that there was nothing in the Council of Trent with which they were forced, in consistency, to quarrel. With the same maxim, that men are generally right in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny, he taught that Whig and Tory are alike necessary portions of truth, that they complete each other, that they need each other, that a true philosophy of politics includes the two. He also said that the past is a law for the future, and that the will of Providence consecrates those things which are permitted to succeed and to endure. This is pure conservatism. The Whig seeks that which ought to be elsewhere than in that which is. His standing purpose is to effect change, for the past is essentially Tory.

The influence of the most enlightened German on the new German dynasty was not favourable to party government, and would have combined better with the system of William III. They consulted an enlightened Englishman, and Lord Cowper drew up an important political paper, showing that the king ought to depend on the Whigs. Moreover, Bolingbroke, at the last moment, by his Stuart intrigue, compelled George I to come in as the nominee of a party. To Bolingbroke's intrigues the House of Hanover owed that which it most needed, the prestige of victory. He had found comfort in the reflection that, although it might be impossible to prevent the heralds from proclaiming the new monarchy, the new monarch would soon make himself odious, and would be more easy to expel than to exclude. The mass of the people was Tory, and the majority of Tories were Jacobites. There was the assured co-operation of the sects discontented with the Union, and a part of the very small army would be held fast by the sullen anger of the Irish.

Lewis XIV, weary and inert, would not risk another war; but if he saw his opportunity to interfere, he was not likely to neglect it. The Pretender would be advised by his brother, Berwick, the victor of Almanza. The insurgent forces would be led by the Duke of Ormonde, who had succeeded Marlborough as commander-in-chief. Marlborough himself had advanced money for the Jacobite rising, and was so much suspected by the ministers that they would not let him take the command.

The hopefulness of the situation darkened somewhat before the time for action arrived. Lewis XIV died, and the Regent, having Philip of Spain for a rival, required the good-will of England. Two miscreants, to whom James had offered L20,000 if they would shoot the king and the Prince of Wales, failed to earn their reward. The arrest of a leading Jacobite, Sir William Wyndham, so scared his partisans, that Ormonde, having sailed into Torbay, returned to St. Malo without landing. The Highlanders rose, but there was no Dundee and no Montrose to make them superior to regular troops. They fought with doubtful fortune at Sheriffmuir, while the Borderers, finding no support in Lancashire, surrendered at Preston. When James Stuart landed in Aberdeenshire, the struggle was over. Cadogan was approaching at the head of the Dutch auxiliaries, and the Pretender escaped by a back door from his own men, and made his way to Gravelines. He had proved unequal to the occasion, and was not gifted with political understanding. But he had been instructed by Fenelon, and had learnt from him the doctrine of toleration.

The strongest part of the case against the new order in England was the treatment of the Irish Catholics; and James saw the whole thing in the light of a religious conflict. Bolingbroke, who had been an oppressor of Nonconformists, and had no sympathy with the prince's motives, fell into disgrace. He was made responsible for the failure, and was suspected of having told secrets to the ambassador, Stair, in order to make his peace at home. He was allowed to return, and did far more harm to the House of Hanover as a loyal subject than he had done as a manager of insurrection.

Seven peers had been taken with arms in their hands; and, in order to avoid questions which might have injured their friends, they pleaded guilty, and threw themselves on the mercy of the king. As they were more guilty than the followers whom they had led to their destruction, they could not be pardoned. Some, amid universal applause, made their escape from the Tower, and only two were sent to the scaffold. At the last moment, when repentance did not avail, Derwentwater retracted the declarations of loyalty he had made at his trial, and died protesting his unswerving fidelity to the House of Stuart. The Tories were effectually ruined. The militant part of them had been crushed. The remainder had proved helplessly weak, and the last dying speech of their honoured champion was taken as a proof that they were traitors at heart, and that their professions of loyalty were interested and insincere. Parliament displayed an enthusiastic attachment to the dynasty and its ministers; they were ready for any expenditure, for any armaments, and a force of 16,000 men was raised, for the better security of the Whigs.

On this state of feeling the government introduced septennial parliaments. Under the Triennial Act a general election would have fallen due in 1717, too soon for safety after the Jacobite rising. Opinion in the country had not been impressed by recent events, by the utter weakness of the rebels, the overwhelming success of the government, the significant menace of the dying leader, so deeply as the House of Commons. The new establishment would be in peril with the constituencies, but safe with their representatives. This was so certain that the philosophic arguments, for legislative independence and for popular control, were superfluous. The victors secured their victory and perpetuated their power by extending their mandate from three years to seven. The measure strengthened the House of Commons, and prepared the long reign of the Whigs. The funds rose, and the king took advantage of the improved situation to spend some months in Hanover. There he had greater scope to devote himself to foreign affairs, and to bring the Englishmen who attended him under the influence of experienced foreigners. Thus, while the Tories were prostrate and the Whigs supreme, a schism arose between the ministers at Hanover and the ministers at home. Walpole and Townshend went out of office; Stanhope and Sunderland formed a new administration, which the South Sea Bubble overthrew. A great question of constitutional principle opened between them and their former colleagues. The enmity between the king and the Prince of Wales made it probable that the ministers who had the confidence of the father would be dismissed on his son's accession. George II, to carry out his purpose, would be obliged to swamp the House of Lords with new peers. To prevent this, it was proposed to limit the power of creation and to fix a maximum number. As the Septennial Act had increased the power of the commons, the Peerage Bill would, in their turn, have increased the power of the peers, against the crown on one hand, against the commons on the other. The Whigs were not prepared to diminish the House of Commons, and not yet afraid that it would become too powerful, exposed as it was to corruption, and elected, on a narrow franchise, by an uneducated constituency. Burnet, the typical Whig, had protested against such limitations as should quite change the form of our government, and render the crown titular and precarious.

Walpole defeated the Bill. It deprived government of one great means of influence, by abolishing the hope of a peerage. He was not prepared to sacrifice a legitimate species of patronage. He came back, thereupon, to office, but not to a principal office; and he was not a member of the Cabinet when the South Sea Company undertook to reduce the National Debt. They offered only eight and a half years' purchase; but the spirit of speculation was strong, and these bad terms were widely accepted. The shares of the Company rose from 130 to 1000. As there was so much capital seeking investment, rival enterprises were started, and were opposed by the South Sea Company. Their ruin destroyed its credit; and after large sums had been won, large sums were lost. Some had been impoverished, others enriched. The country had not suffered, but the ministry fell. Walpole inherited their power. The ground was cleared for his long administration. It lasted so long that he did more than any other man to establish the new system of government. He was more zealous to retain his power than to make heroic use of it, and was a good administrator but an indifferent legislator. In his time those things were best which were done outside of parliament. Walpole made it his business to yield to public opinion, and did it consistently in the three critical moments of his career—in Wood's Halfpence, in the Excise, and in the Spanish war. The same problem presented itself to a greater man in the present century, and was decided on the opposite principle. Guizot was himself persuaded that a measure of parliamentary reform was inevitable, since the opinion of the country was in its favour. But the opinion of parliament was against it, and he preferred to fall, together with the monarchy, in obedience to parliament, rather than to triumph by public opinion.

Walpole gave way in the affair of the Halfpence, that he might not alienate those through whom he governed Ireland. The coins were good. They were to contain twice the value of metal with which we are satisfied, and it was never shown that they did not. The gains of the contractor were exhorbitant. He was able to pay a heavy fee to the Duchess of Kendal; and when the contract was revoked, he obtained an excessive compensation. His Halfpence are historic because Swift, in raising a tempest over the Irish grievance, employed the language of revolution and national patriotism, as it had never been heard. Again, the Excise Bill would have saved many hundreds of thousands of pounds to the State, when a hundred thousand was more than a million is now; but Walpole, in spite of his majority, yielded to the clamour outside. And he did the same thing in regard to the Spanish war, the last great crisis he encountered.

Walpole's main idea on taking the highest office, that which he proclaimed in his first king's speech, was to divert the country from frantic speculation to the legitimate profits of industry and trade. The two great openings for trade were with the Mediterranean and with Spanish America. That with the Mediterranean was somewhat neglected, as the government relied more on the friendship of the piratical Algerines than on the solid possession of Gibraltar and Minorca. George I had written a letter to Philip V, dated 1st June, 1721, in which he distinctly assured him of his "readiness to satisfy with regard to your demand relating to the restitution of Gibraltar, promising you to make use of the first favourable opportunity to regulate this article with consent of my parliament." The English ministry were not convinced of the importance of retaining Gibraltar, and fully expected to be in a position to give it up to Spain for an equivalent. Indeed, in January 1721, Stanhope had said to the French envoy that in a year, when the financial position of England was better and the temper of parliament improved, they would certainly give up Gibraltar, for the merest shadow of an equivalent, as the place was only a burden to them. But they had not counted on the determination of the English people to hold it at all costs. Philip, however, not perhaps without some reason, always regarded the engagement as precise, and treated the continued retention as an act of bad faith. In all that I have just said about Gibraltar, I have been quoting a recent writer in the Historical Review.

The South American trade presented infinite possibilities. It was pursued with difficulty against the resistance of the Spaniards, who had the law on their side. It was considered worth a war, and the strength of public feeling overcame the feeble scruples of the minister. The war ended disastrously, but before the end Walpole had been driven from office. It had been no part of his policy to promote prosperity by arms, but it was part of his policy, and the deciding part of it, to let the nation, in the last instance, regulate its own affairs. Peace was a good thing; but profit was also a good thing; and Walpole had no principle that made one a question of duty and the other a question of interest.

The constant lesson of the Revolution was that England preferred monarchy. But after the fall of Walpole it was observed that there was a new growth of republican sentiment, and that the country felt itself superior to the government. This was the natural result of the time known as the Robinocracy; not because he devised liberal measures, but because he was careful to be neither wiser nor more liberal than the public. He was quite content to preserve the government of the country by the rich, in the interest of their own class. Unlike Stanhope, his predecessor, he was unmoved by the intolerance of the laws in England, and especially in Ireland. He was a friend to Free Trade; but he suffered Ireland to be elaborately impoverished, for the benefit of English landlords. Slavery and the slave trade, which Bolingbroke had promoted, were not remedied or checked by this powerful Whig. The criminal Code, in his time, grew annually more severe; and I need enter into no details as to the treatment of the prisoners and of the poor. Walpole was so powerful, and was powerful so long, that much of the responsibility for all these things is at his door. On this account, and not because he governed by patronage and pensions and ribbons and bribes, he was a false Whig.

Government by Party was established in 1714, by Party acting through the Cabinet. Walpole added to this the prime minister, the accepted head of the Party and of the Cabinet. As the king did not preside, the minister who did preside discharged many functions of the king. The power of governing the country was practically transferred. It was shared, not between the minister and the king, but between the head of the ministry and the head of the opposition. For Party implies the existence of a party which is out as well as a party that is in. There is a potential ministry ready for office whenever the majority is shifted. As Walpole remained twenty-one years in office, he ignored this part of the constitutional system. He never became a leader of opposition, and when he resigned, no such thing had been provided. "All the talents" were opposed to him, but they were not an organised opposition. They were discontented and offended Whigs, assailing ministers on no ground of principle. This form of opposition was instituted by Pulteney, when he quarrelled with Walpole. Pulteney founded the Craftsman, in which there was much good political writing. For Bolingbroke had returned to England, and as he was not allowed to resume his seat in the Lords, he could make his power felt only through his pen. As he was thoroughly cured of his Jacobite sympathies, the doctrine he proclaimed was a Toryism stripped of the reactionary element. He proposed to make the State dominate over all the interests—land, Church, trade, and the like. That this might be done, and the government by a class for a class abolished, he appealed to the crown. The elevation of the State over the dominant classes had been the part of intelligent Monarchy in every age. And it is the spell by which Bolingbroke transformed Toryism and introduced the party called the King's Friends, which became a power in the middle of the century, and was put an end to by Mr. Pitt, after losing America, and setting up an English rival to England. After the final fall of the Stuarts in 1746, this was the moving force of Toryism, and the illiberal spirit was seriously curbed. Macaulay goes so far as to say that the Tories became more liberal than the Whigs. But it was an academic and Platonic liberality that did not strengthen the constitution.

The Whigs, having added the unwritten clauses, exclusive government by party, cabinet instead of council, and premier instead of king, did nothing to discover defects to be reformed and principles to be developed. They became Conservatives, satisfied with defending the new dynasty and the institutions that accompanied it. One supreme change was absolutely essential to complete their system. For its essence was that the object of the law, which was liberty, should prevail over the letter of the law, which was restraint. It required that public opinion should control legislation. That could not be done without the liberty of the press; and the press was not free while it was forbidden to publish and to discuss the debates of parliament. That prohibition was strictly maintained. For near thirty years we know the debates, and even the divisions, chiefly through the reports of Bonnet the Brandenburg resident, and of Hoffmann the Austrian resident, who tell us much that is sought vainly in the meagre pages of Hansard. Then came the epoch of Dr. Johnson and his colleagues in Grub Street. But when the Whig reign ended, at the resignation of the great Commoner in 1761, the Whigs had not admitted the nation to the parliamentary debates.

The debates were made public in 1774. The unreported parliament of 1768, as it is called, is the first that was properly reported. The speeches were taken down by one of the members, Cavendish, the ancestor of the Waterparks. A portion has been printed and forgotten. The remainder is preserved in manuscript, and contains, in all, about two hundred and fifty speeches of Edmund Burke. It is of no little value to political students, inasmuch as Burke at his best is England at its best. Through him and through American influence upon him, the sordid policy of the Walpolean Whigs became a philosophy, and a combination of expedients was changed into a system of general principles.

The English Revolution

THREE-QUARTERS of a century of struggling and experiment, from the fall of Bacon to the death of Charles II, had ended in failure, and the government of England had been brought into line with continental monarchy when James ascended the throne.

The House of Commons refused to listen to Seymour s warning speech, and voted, nemine discrepante, a revenue which, by the growth of trade, soon rose to near two millions. It was in the king's power to retain that loyal and submissive parliament as long as he chose, and he was not obliged to meet it annually. He had the control of the constituencies. The press was not free, and the proceedings of the legislature were withdrawn from public knowledge. Judges could be dismissed at will, until the bench was filled with prerogative lawyers. There was an army kept in foreign pay that could be recalled when it was wanted. Passive obedience was taught as a precept by the universities, and as a religious dogma by the Church.

It was no secret that James was resolved to be master, and to abolish the restraints and safeguards of the constitution. Penn, reporting his intentions to William of Orange, declared that he would have all or nothing. He had repeatedly avowed that he meant to do it by a standing army and by claiming the right to dispense with laws. Monmouth's rebellion gave him the standing army. Although it was unsupported either by the exclusionists or the limitationists, and although it was contemptibly managed, there had been a moment of serious danger. It was the general opinion that the night attack at Sedgemoor would have succeeded, and that the royal army would have been destroyed, if the rebels, instead of betraying their approach with musketry, had come to close quarters with axe and scythe. The king took advantage of what had happened, and he had the means of paying a force which amounted to 14,000 men.

Charles had been in perpetual want of money through the expensive scandals of his court. There were half a dozen ducal titles needing to be provided with ducal incomes, and obliging the king to become a dependent pensionary of the liberal paymaster in France. At his death all this was changed, and Catharine Sedley disappeared from Whitehall. It is true that her absence was not prolonged, and that she had obscurer rivals. But a decorous economy was observed in a branch of expenditure which had been profuse. Nevertheless Lewis XIV hastened to make offers of pecuniary aid to the frugal James as to the extravagant Charles. He sent over a sum of L60,000 or L70,000, consisting partly of arrears already due. This was to be paid only if James found himself in difficulties after having proclaimed liberty of conscience. If there was no disturbance, there was to be no payment. And when the session ended without any measure of the kind, Lewis gave orders that the money should be returned to him. In the autumn of 1685 James proceeded to adopt his advice. He had been victorious. His birthday, in October, was celebrated more heartily than his brother's had ever been, and the atrocities of the Western Assize did not affect opinion to his disadvantage.

He made known his plans. Besides the standing army and the recall of the Habeas Corpus, he demanded the dispensing power. Nobody supposed that the head of the executive was to persecute his own religion. To admit his right of succession was to admit that the Elizabethan Code was to be practically dormant. The Catholic desired no more. It was enough that they ceased to suffer oppression. Halifax, the ablest though not the strongest of James's ministers, agreed to that, and did not object to a moderate number of Catholic officers. The Prince of Orange was of the same opinion. Toleration was therefore assured, and the era of persecution had passed away. That was of no use to Lewis XIV, who in that month of October suppressed the Protestant religion in France. And it was of little use to James himself, as it added nothing to his power. He insisted on introducing toleration by dispensing with the laws, by right of his prerogative, and on abolishing the Test Act. But the Test Act was a security against arbitrary power, by depriving him of the assistance of Catholics in office. His desire for arbitrary power was notorious, and the country did not believe that his zeal for the liberty of conscience was sincere. They believed, and they believed rightly, that he demanded more than that which would satisfy the just and obvious necessities of his Church in order to strengthen his prerogative, and that he was tolerant in order that he might be absolute. He professed openly the maxim that toleration was the necessary condition of absolutism. He urged Lewis, secretly, to pursue the work of the revocation, and was reluctant to allow collections to be made for the Huguenot fugitives.

Later, when he was himself an exile, and nothing could be more inopportune than the profession of tolerant sympathies at the French court, he seriously and consistently proclaimed them. And it is very possible that he was then sincere, and that a change had taken place. Another change took place when he became acquainted with the famous Rance, who had made the abbey of La Trappe the most edifying seat of religion in France, and a favourite retreat for men like Bossuet and St. Simon. James also visited him and corresponded with him, and sixty of their letters are extant. At Versailles people did not understand how so much devotion could be combined with so much tolerance in religion. The letters to Rance show that the religion of James, when he was on the throne, was very near the surface. Whether it was different afterwards, as they believed in France, is not quite certain. And in this connection it will be convenient to mention the assassination plot.

There was an Irish divine, Martin of Connemara, who suggested that, in time of war, it would be well that a chosen band should devote themselves to the task of falling upon the Prince of Orange and putting him to death. It would, he said, be a legitimate act of warfare. Lewis XIV required no such arguments, and sent a miscreant named Grandval to rid him of the obnoxious prince. Berwick preferred the advice of the theologian, and, at the battle of Landen, he led a troop of 200 horsemen to the place where his kinsman stood, crying out to them to kill him. Three years later, in 1696, he was in London, communicating with the managers of the plot, who thought that it would be no murder to shoot the king on the road to Hampton Court, when surrounded by his guards. A beacon fire on Shakespeare's Cliff was to send the news across the sea, and at that signal James was to come over, in French ships. When the plot thickened, Berwick made his escape, and met his father changing horses at Clermont. Having learnt how matters stood, James pursued his way to Calais, and there, while he watched the northern horizon for the desired signal, he wrote edifying letters to the Abbe de Rance. When the plot was betrayed he showed the deepest sympathy with the assassins, and never lamented their crime.

The series of measures by which he lost the crown form a drama in three acts. First, he tried to obtain the co-operation of the Established Church. When that failed, he turned against the Church and worked through the Dissenters. And then he brought on that quarrel with the clergy which proved fatal to him. James did not believe in the reality of Protestant religion. Sunderland assured him that in two years not a Protestant would be left in England, if compulsion ceased, and his mind was bewildered by two very remarkable facts. One of these was the theology of recent Caroline divines. Archbishop Bramhall could hardly be distinguished from a Gallican. Archbishop Leighton was in close touch with Jansenists. One Roman doctrine was adopted by Montagu, another by Thomdike, a third by Isaac Barrow. Bull received the thanks of the French clergy for his vindication of the early fathers against the most learned of the Jesuits. To an ignorant and narrow-minded man all these things pointed to one conclusion, the instability and want of solidity in the Anglican system. Then there was the astounding collapse of the French Huguenots. Lewis boasted that, in a few months, without real violence, he had effected 800,000 conversions. And James was eager to believe it. He asked himself, says Barillon, why he could not do as much in England. He desired the Roman congregations to examine the question, whether the English bishops might retain their sees. Some said they would be better than the Catholic clergy, who were accused of Jansenism. One thing he considered absolutely certain. The Church would never resist his authority. The Bishop of Winchester entreated him not to rely on the passive obedience of Churchmen. James replied that the bishop had lost his nerve.

Having decided to risk a quarrel with loyal Anglicans, he assumed the dispensing power. The judges approved. There was a precedent in his favour. He had support not only in the past but in the future, for William III followed his example. He could claim that he was acting for the reason of State against shameful prejudice and sordid passion. The greatest historic figure of the age, William Penn, was on his side, and went over to explain the principle of his policy to the Prince of Orange. Lewis XIV urged him on. And although the body of English Catholics were much opposed, his immediate advisers, who were men in the French interest, or survivors of the Dover Treaty, Arundel, Bellasis, Dover, Tyrconnel, encouraged his fixed design. A few men in high office, he said, would do more for Catholicism than many hearing mass without impediment.

We must imagine not a sinister tyrant brooding schemes of oppression, but an unintelligent absolutist, in the hands of men, some of whom were able and some sincere, plying him with plausible arguments. Therefore, when the primate and six bishops protested against the Declaration of Indulgence, James sent them to the Tower. Sunderland advised caution. The time for extreme measures, he said, had not come. The violent members of the council thought that they had their enemies at their mercy and they prevailed.

James thought that he was triumphing, for just then the Prince of Wales was born. The future of his policy was assured. The crown was not to pass to the head of the Protestant interest in Europe. James's enemies, says the imperial envoy, gave up their cause for lost. In their despair they at once invented the lie about the warming pan. James's opportunity had come. He could declare an amnesty for the event which had so profoundly changed his fortunes. The seven bishops could be released without a trial, and the impending catastrophe could be averted. The king, disagreeing with his advisers, with Sunderland, with the nuncio, even with Jeffreys, determined to go on. He intended that the bishops should be tried, condemned, and pardoned. With that, his victory would be complete. Instead of which, the bishops were acquitted, and the king's attack on the Church ended in defeat.

On that day Admiral Herbert, disguised as a blue-jacket, left with the invitation to the Prince of Orange to come over. It was written by Algernon Sidney's brother, and bore the signatures of seven considerable men, who were prepared to risk their lives. Several others acquiesced, and it was not the act of one party. The thing had become inevitable when the prince was born. It was delayed until the issue was decided between the crown and the Church. The associates assured William that the Prince of Wales was an imposture, and that he must come, in order to secure his own birthright, as well as the liberties of England. William of Orange had not intrigued that the crown should pass to his wife before the time, and had given his uncle much good advice. For him it was everything that England should not be against him in the struggle with Lewis XIV. For that, he had the Habsburgs on his side, and it was essential that they should still be with him if he obeyed the call of his friends. He had been preparing for it ever since he sent Dykvelt over in 1687, and had asked the States of Holland to hold twenty-five men-of-war and 9000 sailors in readiness, to meet the danger which threatened from France.

James took alarm, and warned William that the succession was not absolutely safe. Lewis, who much dreaded the prospect of having his ablest and most formidable enemy at Whitehall, wished the Princess Anne to precede her elder sister. To strengthen her claim with her father he proposed that she should become a Catholic, and sent over books of controversy for that purpose. James, on the other hand, told William that there would be no crown to inherit, but a commonwealth in England, if he did not succeed in his endeavour to make himself master. Dykvelt had conducted the secret negotiation which ended in the invitation of 30th June.

A still more delicate negotiation was pursued on the Continent. William could not allow it to appear that his expedition implied a war of religion. He would forfeit the alliance of the Emperor, which was the very pivot of his policy. Leopold was a devout and scrupulous man, and it was uncertain how he would regard an enterprise which was to substitute a Protestant dynasty for a Catholic dynasty in England. There was only one way of ensuring his assistance. In order to have the support of the Empire it was requisite to obtain the support of the Papacy. In a religious question Leopold would follow the pope. William sent one of his generals, the Prince de Vaudemont, to Rome; and, through Count Dohna, he opened a correspondence with the Vatican. He represented that the Catholics would obtain from him the toleration which they could never be sure of under James. There would be not only a serious political advantage gained by the detachment of England from the French interest, but also a positive and measurable benefit for the Church of Rome. The pope understood and assented, and took the Habsburgs with him into the camp of the Great Deliverer. This is the touch of mystery in the Revolution of 1688. James, the champion of the Church, had alienated Rome.

The pope, Innocent XI, Odescalchi, is a rare and original figure, and James said truly that no man like him had sat on the see of Rome for centuries. He began the reform of the court, which consisted in the abolition of nepotism. All through the century his predecessors had founded great princely families—Borghese, Ludovisi, Barberini, Pamphili, Chigi, Rospigliosi, Altieri. These great houses grew wealthy out of the spoils of the Church, and, as their founders died without making restitution, opponents of nepotism affirmed that they died unrepentant, and might be found in those regions of the other world where Dante delighted to exhibit the pontiffs of his time. In his zeal for a strict morality Innocent tried to rectify the teaching of the Casuists, and was involved in trouble with the Jesuits. In France he was spoken of as a Jansenist, and in England Oldmixon called him a Protestant pope. He endeavoured, as nobody had done since the Reformation, to find a remedy for the divisions of Western Christendom. The movement had not ceased since Richelieu was minister and Grotius ambassador at Paris, and it became active on both sides. Innocent sanctioned a scheme of concessions which was deemed satisfactory in the universities of Protestant Germany.

When Lewis revoked the Edict of Toleration the pope did not conceal his displeasure. He was compelled at last to allow Te Deums and illuminations; but he made no secret of his disbelief in the armed apostolate of missionaries in jackboots. He was bitterly opposed to the Gallican system, out of which the persecution proceeded. James II was odious to him for many reasons. First as a promoter of French tendencies, both in politics and in religion. For James, like Lewis, was a Gallican in Church questions. When an Englishman defended ultramontane propositions in a disputation at Louvain, he expressed his indignation that such an attack should have been permitted in his presence on the plenary authority of kings. He offended the pope by sending as his ambassador Lord Castlemaine, who was ridiculous not only as the Duchess of Cleveland's husband, but as the author of a book in which he pleaded for toleration on the ground that Catholics should be as well treated in England as Protestants in France. With great reluctance the pope consented that his agent, D'Adda, should be appointed a nuncio; but when James made the Jesuit Petre a privy councillor, giving him his own apartment at Whitehall, and represented that he would be fitter for such a position if he was made a bishop or a cardinal, Innocent refused.

Petre laid the blame on the nuncio, and the Jesuits asked that he should be sent out of the country. He would be forced, said the king, to do without the Court of Rome. D'Adda gave the same advice as the Prince of Orange, that the Penal Laws should not be executed, but the Test Acts retained; and he was one of those who, when the crisis came, maintained that there was nothing to fear from William. After Innocent's death in 1689 there was a change, but Rome declared in favour of taking the oath to William III. Perth wrote from Rome in 1695: "The Prince of Orange has more friends here than either in England or Holland, and the king is universally hated. It's scandalous to hear what is said every day, publicly, when they make comparisons betwixt an heretical, unnatural, usurping tyrant and His Majesty."

On this state of feeling, far stronger in 1688 than in 1695, William built his plan. It was in the power of Lewis at any moment to prevent the expedition. He had an army ready for war, and could have held William fast by sending it against the Netherlands. He preferred to attack the empire on the Upper Rhine. For twenty years it had been his desire to neutralise England by internal broils, and he was glad to have the Dutch out of the way while he dealt a blow at Leopold. It was impossible that the conflict between James and William should not yield him an opportunity. For the beginning he stood carefully aside, letting things take their course. There was no resistance, by land or sea, and it proved almost as easy to dethrone the Stuarts as it had been to restore them. The balance of parties, the lack of energetic conviction in England, had allowed things to settle down, when the real struggle began, in Ireland, in Scotland, and in the Channel. The Scots rising did not postpone the issue, but it is valuable to us for the sake of one transaction.

The deed that was done in Glencoe is familiar to us all, by a patch of Tyrian purple in the most splendid of our histories. It affords a basis for judging the character of William and of his government. They desired that some of the Highlanders should stand out, that an example might be made; and they hoped that it might be the one Catholic clan, as they were likely to be the most dangerous Jacobites. "Who knows," wrote Stair, "but, by God's providence, they are permitted to fall into this delusion that they may only be extirpat." Four days later another writes: "The king does not care that some do it, that he may make examples of them." Accordingly, by his orders, one branch of the Macdonalds was destroyed by Campbell of Glenlyon. There is no doubt about the order. But it is not certain that William knew that the chieftain had taken the oath. The people concerned were rewarded in due proportion. One became a colonel, another a knight, a third a peer, and a fourth an earl. It was a way King William had. When the murder of De Witt made him supreme, he kept away from The Hague, but then saw that the murderers were recompensed. Eighty years later a deserter from one of our regiments was under sentence to be shot. The officer commanding the firing party, another Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, had received a reprieve, with secret orders not to produce it until the culprit stood facing the levelled muskets. At that moment, as he drew the reprieve from his pocket, his handkerchief, coming with it, fell to the ground. The soldiers took it for their signal and fired. Glenlyon exclaimed, "It is the curse of Glencoe!" and at once left the service.

When James escaped to France, he at once went over to Ireland, with a French army, while a French fleet covered the expedition and swept the Channel. James had long intended to make Ireland independent of England, that, under his Protestant successors, it might be an impregnable refuge for persecuted Catholics. He estimated that it would take five years of preparation. Tyrconnel also contemplated separation, and arranged for a French invasion, if James died. When James came over Tyrconnel thought him hopelessly incompetent, and offered his country to Lewis XIV. Sarsfield detested his treachery, and invited Berwick to undertake the government. Of James's French counsellors, one was Lauzun, who commanded the auxiliary army, and proposed to burn Dublin to the ground and ravage the open country. The other was the ambassador D'Avaux, who wished him to make short work of all the Protestants in the island.

James rejected the advice with indignation. Lewis also rejected it, but without the indignation you would expect in a most Christian king, and without thinking the adviser unworthy of his service. D'Avaux relates it all, without reserve, in his despatches, which are among the curiosities of History. They were printed at the Foreign Office, and never published. The only copy I ever saw was uncut when it came into my hands.

In spite of these discordant counsels, the Jacobite prospects in Ireland brightened when a fleet of seventy-eight ships sailed from Brest. "If they were only commanded by De Ruyter," said Louvois, whose control stopped with the shore, "there would be something to hope for." Instead of De Ruyter, Tourville defeated the combined Dutch and English at Beachy Head. The allies lost sixteen ships out of fifty-eight; the French not one. Tourville was master of the Channel. Torrington left the Dutch to do the fighting, and kept as far as he could from the scene of danger. He had to lament the death of his favourite dog. They said that the dog died the death of an admiral, and the admiral lived the life of a dog. That 30th of June is the most disgraceful date in our naval annals.

On the following day the battle of the Boyne was won not in the legendary manner, by William, with his sword in his left hand, or Schomberg, plunging into the river to meet a soldiers death, but by the younger Schomberg, who crossed higher up and outflanked the French. Tourville's victory, after that, was entirely useless. William offered an amnesty, which was frustrated by the English hunger for Irish estates; and the capitulation of Limerick, rejected by the Irish parliament, gave it the name of the City of the Broken Treaty.

The reign of James came to an end when he fled from the Boyne to St. Germains. He became the king of the Nonjurors. In 1693, when the French had been victorious at Steenkerk and Landen, he issued a Declaration, with the doubting approval of French divines, which the nonjuring bishops repudiated. Such concessions, they affirmed, would ruin the monarchy. Kerr was of the same opinion; but he went on to say that when the Declaration had served its purpose and restored the king, he would not be bound to observe it. The war was unprofitable to the allies on land; but after the victory of La Hogue the three kingdoms were safe from invasion. This is the war to which we owe the National Debt, the Bank of England, the growth of the moneyed interest.

But the agrarian interest still largely predominated, and the landlords, as the ruling class, required a reward for their share in the elevation of William. Nineteen years earlier the Corn Laws had been invented for their benefit. Protection against foreign importation did much; but in 1689 a premium on the exportation of English-grown corn was added, and it is this which caused the immense prosperity of English agriculture in the eighteenth century, enriching the landlord with capital at the expense of the yeoman without it.

Two of our greatest writers, to speak truly, our two greatest writers, Burke and Macaulay, have taken pains to show that the Revolution of 1688 was not revolutionary but conservative, that it was little more than a rectification of recent error, and a return to ancient principles. It was essentially monarchical. The king was acknowledged to be a necessity in the then state of England. The idea of a Commonwealth did not appear. The Revolution was mainly the work of Conservatives, that is, of Churchmen who, where Church interests were not threatened, strictly upheld authority, and reverted to their original doctrine when the crisis was over. No change took place in the governing class. The gentry who managed the affairs of the county managed the affairs of the country after 1688 as they had done before. There was no transfer of force from the aristocratic element of society to the democratic. The essentials of free government, religious liberty, national education, emancipation of slaves, freedom of trade, relief of poverty, freedom of the press, solidarity of ministers, publicity of debates, were not mentioned in the resolutions of the Convention or in the Bill of Rights. Nothing was done to determine whether the future belonged to the Tory or the Whig.

And yet it is the greatest thing done by the English nation. It established the State upon a contract, and set up the doctrine that a breach of contract forfeited the crown—the former, in the English convention; the latter, in the Scottish. Parliament gave the crown, and gave it under conditions. Parliament became supreme in administration as well as in legislation. The king became its servant on good behaviour, liable to dismissal for himself or his ministers. All this was not restitution, but inversion. Passive obedience had been the law of England. Conditional obedience and the right of resistance became the law. Authority was limited and regulated and controlled. The Whig theory of government was substituted for the Tory theory on the fundamental points of political science. The great achievement is that this was done without bloodshed, without vengeance, without exclusion of entire parties, with so little definiteness in point of doctrine that it could be accepted, and the consequences could be left to work themselves out. The Act itself was narrow, spiritless, confused, tame, and unsatisfactory. It was perfectly compatible with the oppression of class by class, and of the country by the State, as the agent of a class. It was strangely imperfect.

The consequences ripened slowly, and a time came, under George III, when it seemed that they were exhausted. It was then that another and a more glorious Revolution, infinitely more definite and clear-cut, with a stronger grasp of principle, and depending less on conciliation and compromise, began to influence England and Europe.

Lewis the Fourteenth

WHILST ENGLAND was traversing the revolutionary period on its arduous course towards free government, France completed, with universal applause, the structure of absolute monarchy. Neither Henry IV nor Richelieu had done enough to secure the country against conspiracy, disorder, and invasion. There was a relapse into civil war during each minority, under Lewis XIII and Lewis XIV; the nobles and the magistrates turned against the crown, and a prince of the blood, Conde, commanded the Spaniards in a campaign on French soil against the royal army. With the aid of Turenne, Mazarin triumphed over every danger, and the young king was anointed in the Cathedral of Rheims.

In 1659, by the Peace of the Pyrenees, the cardinal terminated victoriously the long war with Spain, which began in the middle of the Thirty Years' War, and outlasted it, and established the supremacy of France over the Continent. The one desire of France was the concentration of power, that there might be safety abroad and order at home. To ensure this, more was required than the genius of even the most vigorous and astute ministers in the world. Neither Richelieu, who was a bishop, nor Mazarin, who was a foreigner, could be identified with the State. What was wanted had been wanting in France for half a century—the personality of the king, monarchy personified, with as much splendour, as much authority, as much ascendency, as would fill the national imagination and satisfy national pride. The history of Charles I, the restoration of Charles II, the outbreak of loyal sentiment, which was stronger than religion, which was itself a religion, showed that there was something in royalty higher than the policy of statesmen, and more fitted to inspire the enthusiasm of sacrifice.

At the death of Mazarin there was no man capable of being his successor. Le Tellier, Colbert, Lionne were men of very great ability, but they were departmental ministers. The young Monarch gave orders that, as they had reported to the cardinal, they should now report to himself. He added that they were to assist him with their advice whenever he asked for it; and he did not make it appear that he would trouble them often. The initiative of government passed into his hands. He did not say, "L'etat, c'est moi." Those words, I believe, were invented by Voltaire, but they are profoundly true. It was the thing which occasion demanded, and he was the man suited to the occasion.

Lewis XIV was by far the ablest man who was born in modern times on the steps of a throne. He was laborious, and devoted nine hours a day to public business. He had an excellent memory and immense fertility of resource. Few men knew how to pursue such complex political calculations, or to see so many moves ahead. He was patient and constant and unwearied, and there is a persistent unity in his policy, founded, not on likes and dislikes, but on the unvarying facts in the political stage of Europe: Every European state was included in his system, and had its part in the game. His management of each was so dexterous that diplomacy often made war superfluous, and made it successful. Lewis was not a born soldier like Swedish Charles and the great Frederic. He never exercised an actual command. He would appear at sieges when the psychological moment came, and ride ceremoniously under fire, with his Jesuit confessor close at hand. His fame was so large a part of the political capital of France, that a pretence was made of believing in his generalship, and the king took it quite seriously. He told his son to go to the wars and prove his warlike quality, that the change, when his father died, might not be too deeply felt. In many places he was accepted as a benefactor and a That was generally the case in Switzerland, in Portugal, in Denmark and Sweden, in Poland and Hungary, in parts of Germany, and in parts of Italy. For in small countries public men poor and easily consented to accept his gifts. In this way he strove to prevent coalitions and to isolate his enemies. The enemies were Austria and the Netherlands.

Two facts governed the European situation. One was the break-up of the imperial power in Germany, after the Thirty Years' War. The effect of it was that France was fringed by a series of small territories which were too feeble to defend themselves, and which Germany was too feeble and too divided to protect. There were Belgium, Liege, Luxemburg, Lorraine, Alsace, and Franche Comte. The other overshadowing fact was the evident decay of Spain, of the royal family as well as of the nation. Belgium, Luxemburg, and Franche Comte were Spanish, and were therefore helpless. The acquisition of these provinces was an inevitable element of his policy. That was part of a far larger scheme. Philip IV had no son. His daughter, Maria Theresa, was heir to his boundless dominions. As early as 1646 Mazarin resolved that his master should marry the Infanta, and that Spain and the Indies, Naples and the Milanese, and the remnant of the possessions of Charles the Bold, should be attached to the crown of France. When the time came, and reluctant Spain consented, at the treaty of the Pyrenees, Lewis was discovered to be in love with another lady. Her name was Marie Mancini, the youngest of three sisters, and she was the cardinal's own niece.

Mazarin, the ablest and most successful of ministers, had one damning vice. He was shamefully avaricious. He amassed, in the service of the State, therefore dishonestly, an income larger than that of the King of England or the King of Spain. The necklace of pearls which he gave to one of his nieces, and which is at Rome, is said to be still the finest in existence. But Mazarin, though he was sordid and mean, was a statesman of the highest rank. He sent his niece away, in spite of the tears of Lewis, and the Spanish princess became Queen of France. The independence of Spain, the unity of the Spanish empire, were too grand a thing to be an item in the dowry of a bride. She was compelled to renounce her rights, which were transferred to her sister. The renunciation was conditional. It was to depend on the payment, in due time, of the Infanta's fortune. As the payment was not made, the French regarded the surrender as null and void, and the interest at stake, the most splendid inheritance on earth, was one that could not be given up without a conflict. From the moment of the marriage the main object of French policy was to make the succession secure, by negotiation or force, and to take every advantage otherwise of Spanish weakness.

All these plans were doomed to a terrible disappointment. In 1665 Philip of Spain died; but he had married again, and left a son, who became king, in his cradle, under the name of Charles II. The new king was sickly and backward, and it was expected that he would die young, unmarried, and childless. Meantime, the fulfilment of French hopes was postponed for a generation, and the Spanish succession was opened, not at the beginning of Lewis's reign, but at the end. He recovered from the blow by a device to acquire part of the Spanish empire, no longer having a hope of the whole. The device was suggested by Turenne. His experience in the Fronde taught him the danger of having the Spaniards so near, in the valley of the Somme. "Whenever there is trouble in France," he said, "the enemy can be at Paris in four days." In self-defence, for security rather than aggrandisement, the frontier must be pushed back. He caused his secretary to compose a treatise, showing that, by the custom of Brabant, that province devolved on the queen, Maria Theresa. It was the custom there that the children of a first marriage should suffer no loss if their father married again. What would have been their estate, remained their estate. The fee simple passed to them. The father enjoyed a life-interest only, without the power of disposal. The French government argued that, by the analogy of the Salic Law, the principle which applied to property applied to sovereignty, and that what was good for a manor was good for a crown. And they assumed that the custom of Brabant was the law of Belgium.

This is the right of Devolution, with which the king's aggressive career began, and his first war was the war of Devolution, or, as they say in France, the war for the rights of the queen. Those rights consisted of consolation claims set up after the wreck of the dream of universal empire. They presented abundant matter for dispute, but they were worth disputing, even by the last argument of kings.

The Power most concerned was not Spain, but the Netherlands. For Spain, the Belgic provinces were in outlying dependency, involving international complications. For Holland, they were a rampart. The government of the States was in the hands of John de Witt and the Republicans. They were held in check by the partisans of the House of Orange, which, in the last generation, had put the republican leader, the real predecessor of De Witt, to death. The feud was there, faction was not appeased, and De Witt dreaded the day when the Orange party should recover power. The Prince of Orange was only 17. When war came in sight, the Perpetual Edict excluded him from the position which his family had occupied, by forbidding the Stadtholder from being at the same time Commander of the Forces. De Witt was not afraid of a naval war. His brother was the admiral, and it was he who sailed up the Thames. But war on land would bring the young William forward. De Witt made every possible concession, hoping to prevent it. Rather than fight the French, he was willing to agree to a partition of the Belgic provinces. Already, he was at war with England, and the sea-fights had been indecisive. Resistance to France on land was out of the question, except by means of a Coalition, and as no Coalition could be hoped for, Holland stood aside, while Turenne overran Flanders. The Austrian Habsburgs did not interfere to protect the Spanish branch, although they were its heirs. In case his son should die, Philip IV had left his entire monarchy to his second daughter, who was married to the Emperor Leopold. It would remain in the family; whereas, if the French queen had not renounced, it would be swallowed up in the dominions of a stranger—that was the point of view of a Spaniard. The Austrian viewed things differently. He knew perfectly well that France would not be bound by an act which belonged not to the world of real politics, but to the waste-paper basket. Therefore, when France proposed an eventual partition, it seemed important to obtain a more serious and more binding contract than the queen's renunciation. The conditions were not unfavourable to the imperial interest. As there were several other partition treaties, none of which were carried out, the terms of this, the first, need not occupy us. The treaty was not meant to govern the future, but the present. It helped to keep the Emperor tranquil during the spoliation of his Spanish kinsman.

Within a week of the first treaty of partition, Sir William Temple concluded the Triple Alliance. Deserted by Austria, De Witt turned to England. He sent his fleet to destroy the British men-of-war in the Medway, and this catastrophe, coming so soon after the plague and the fire of London, was too much for the feeble spirit of Charles and his ministers. They made peace, allied themselves with Holland and with Sweden, and the progress of the French was arrested. The Triple Alliance was the earliest of that series of coalitions which ended by getting the better of the power of Lewis XIV, and is therefore a landmark in History. But there was nothing lasting in it; the rivalry of the two commercial countries was not to be reconciled by politicians. England was on the side of the Prince of Orange, and desired that he should become sovereign. William had resolved, during the very negotiations that prepared the alliance, that the way to ruin De Witt was to exhibit him to Lewis in the light of a friend of the English. After having been conciliatory to the edge of weakness, he had turned suddenly into an enemy. Lewis could not continue the war because of the maritime superiority of his united opponents. He made peace, restoring Franche Comte, which Conde had occupied, and contenting himself with an extended frontier in Flanders. Lille, which had been taken by Vauban, in an otherwise inglorious campaign, was converted into a great French stronghold. That was the result.

These events exhibit Lewis in his prime, while Colbert and Lionne were living, and were able to balance the sinister influence of Louvois. It was a war of ambition, undertaken after the shock of the loss of Spain and of all that belonged to it. It was not begun from a sense of right and duty. But the advantage was not pushed to the bitter end; the terms agreed upon were reasonable; part of the conquests were restored. Lewis proved himself capable of moderation, of self-command, even of generosity. The outrageous violence and tyranny of later years were not immediately apparent. He withdrew from the fray, preparing for another spring. Then he would avenge himself on John de Witt, and conquer Belgium in Holland. De Witt was the most enlightened statesman in Europe, but he was not a war minister. England was easily detached from him in the hope that the Prince of Orange might be supreme; and Lewis agreed to whatever was necessary, that the English fleet might be on his side. Thus the Triple Alliance was dissolved, and the Dover Treaty took its place. The help afforded by the English fleet in the Dutch war fell short of expectation, but the effect of the agreement was to blot out England for many years.

De Witt, unable to face the storm, offered advantageous terms, which were rejected, and then resigned office. The Prince of Orange took the command of the army; but, at the approach of the French, eighty- three Dutch fortresses opened their gates. At The Hague De Witt and his brother were torn to pieces by an Orange mob, and Holland saved itself by letting in the ocean.

William of Orange, never a very successful general, was a good negotiator, and, excepting his own uncle Charles II, he soon had Europe on his side. The French were driven over the Vosges by the Imperialists. Turenne, in his last campaign, reconquered Alsace, crossed the Rhine, and gave battle to Montecucculi. He fell, and his army retired. Lewis XIV, to mark the greatness of the loss, at once named six new marshals of France. Montecucculi resigned his command. Having had the honour, he said, of fighting Turenne, and having even defeated him, he would not risk his reputation against men who were the small change for the great man who was dead. Lewis XIV had 220,000 men under arms. Conde defeated William at Senef. As often as Vauban defended a fortress, he held it; as often as he besieged a fortress, it fell. The balance of victory inclined to France. England gave no assistance, and the Prince of Orange came over, married the eldest of the princesses, immensely strengthening his own position, and hastening the conclusion of peace.

The peace of Nimeguen gave to Lewis XIV that predominant authority over Europe which he retained undiminished, and even increased, during at least ten years. He acquired a further portion of Belgium, strengthening his frontier on the threatened line; he annexed Franche Comte and he recovered Alsace. He had shown himself to be aggressive and unscrupulous, but his military power was equal to his pretensions; he was true to his humbler allies; his diplomatic foresight, and the art of his combinations, were a revelation to his contemporaries. They also knew that they would never be safe from renewed attack, as the larger half of the coveted region, in the Low Countries, Luxemburg, and Lorraine, was still unabsorbed. His interest was clearly recognised. His policy had been openly declared. With so much ambition, capacity, and power, the future was easy to foretell. In the position he had acquired, and with the qualities he had shown, he would be as dangerous in peace as in war. Coalitions alone could resist him, and a coalition could only be a work of time and patience. When the alliance which had opposed him with unequal fortune was dissolved, a season of peril would ensue, for which no defensive provision could be made.

The keystone of the situation was the assured inaction of England. Whilst that lasted, at least while Charles II lived, Lewis would defy the rest of Europe. He had nothing to fear except the Stadtholder. Whilst De Witt governed, the French attack was irresistible. But the Perpetual Edict was repealed, and William of Orange was captain-general for life. He had saved his country, driven out the French, raised Europe against them. The merchants of Amsterdam, who, in 1672, were preparing to sail for Batavia, as the Puritans sailed for New England, were now the second Power in Europe politically, and commercially by far the first. William of Orange, to whose international genius the change was due, stood very near the succession to the English throne. In the course of nature it would be his some day, by right of his wife, or by his own. And there was hope for European independence and the existence of free communities, if the resources of England passed to William earlier than the resources of Spain fell into the hands of Lewis. After the peace, that was the problem of general politics.

The treaties of Nimeguen were far from satisfying the aspirations of Lewis. He dismissed his foreign minister. Pomponne was the most honourable man in his service, and had conducted with eminent dexterity and success the negotiations for the numerous treaties with every country. Lewis says that he was deficient in the energy and the greatness requisite in executing the orders of a king of France who had not been without good fortune. Pomponne came into office in 1671 and left it in 1679, so that he was not compromised by the derisive claim of devolution, or by the yet more hollow sophistry of reunion, by which Lewis now proceeded to push his advantage. His dismissal announced to the nations what they had to look for. It meant that the profit of Nimeguen was not enough, that the greatness of the French monarch exacted further sacrifices.

After the peace Lewis kept up his army. There were 112,000 men under arms, and there were cadres for twice as many more. With that force in hand, he proceeded to raise new claims, consequential, he said, on the late favourable treaties. He said that the territories ceded to France ought to be ceded with their dependencies, with such portions as had formerly belonged to them, and had been detached in the course of ages. And the parliaments of Lorraine, Alsace, and Franche Comte were directed to ascertain what places there were, what fragments under feudal tenure, to which that retrospective principle applied. They were called chambers, or courts, of reunion, and they enumerated certain small districts, which the French troops accordingly occupied. All this was futile skirmishing. The real object was Strasburg. Alsace was French, but Strasburg, the capital, that is, the capital of Lower Alsace, was imperial. It was the most important place on the road between Paris and Vienna, for it commanded the passage of the only river which crossed and barred the way. Situated on the left bank, it was the gate of France; and twice in the late war it had admitted the Imperialists, and opened the way to Paris. The bishop, Furstenberg, belonged to a great German family that was devoted to the French interest; but the town was Protestant.

Up to that moment, 1681, religious antagonism had not added much to the acerbity of the conflict. Spain and Austria were the enemies of Lewis; Sweden and Denmark were his allies. Brandenburg accepted his gifts, in money, in jewels, in arras. England was his humble friend. But a change was approaching; and it began when Furstenberg first said mass in Strasburg minster, and preached from the text "Nunc Dimittis." Vauban at once arrived, and erected an impregnable barrier, and a medal was struck bearing the inscription: "Clausa Germanis Gallia." On the same day as Strasburg, the French occupied Casale. This was a fortress closing the road between the duchy of Savoy and the duchy of Milan, and commanding the line of the Po. It belonged to Montferrat, which was a dependency of Mantua; but the duke had his price, and he sold the right of occupation to the French. The agreement had been concluded three years before, but it had been betrayed by the duke's minister, and it had become necessary to await a more convenient occasion. The French government did not scruple to have an obstructive adversary put out of the way. Louvois gave orders that Lisola, the Austrian statesman who exposed the scheme of devolution, should be seized, and added that it would be no harm if he was killed. His son commissioned Grandval to murder William III.

The traitor of Casale met with a more terrible fate than a pistol shot or the stroke of a dagger. He suddenly disappeared, and no man ever looked upon his face again. His existence was forgotten, and when he died, long after, nobody knew who he was. In the dismal register of the dead who died in the Bastille he is entered under the name of Marchiali. Fifty years later he began to fix the attention of the world, and became a fascinating enigma. For Marchiali means Mattioli, who was the man in the Iron Mask. That is, of course, there was no man in the Iron Mask; the material was more merciful than that; and the name which has become so famous is as false as the one in which the victim of tyranny was buried.

Whilst Lewis pursued his career of annexation, the empire was disabled by war with the Turks and by troubles in Hungary. In 1683 the grand vizier besieged Vienna, and would have taken it but for the imperial allies, the Elector of Saxony, the Duke of Lorraine, and the King of Poland. After the relief of the capital they carried the war down the Danube, and Leopold was once more the head of a powerful military empire. It was too late to interfere with French conquests. Luxemburg was added to the series in 1684, and an armistice of twenty years practically, though not finally, sanctioned what had been done since Nimeguen. When the four great fortresses had become French—Lille, Besancon, Strasburg, and Luxemburg—and when the empire succumbed, recognising all these acts of entirely unprovoked aggression, Lewis attained the highest level of his reign. He owed it to his army, but also to his diplomacy, which was pre-eminent. He owed it, too, to the intellectual superiority of France at the time, and to the perfection which the language reached just then. The thinking of Europe was done for it by Frenchmen, and French literature, penetrating and predominant everywhere, was a serious element of influence.

In all the work of these brilliant years there was increase of power and territorial agglomeration; there was no internal growth or political development. The one thing wanted was that the king should be great and the country powerful. The object of interest was the State, not the nation, and prosperity did not keep pace with power. The people were oppressed and impoverished for the greater glory of France. Colbert trebled the public revenue, but he did not make it depend on the growth of private incomes or the execution of useful public works. In 1683 Colbert died, and Louvois, the son of Le Tellier, became supreme minister.

The queen's death, about the same time, caused a greater change. The king married Madame de Maintenon. He had been unfaithful to his first wife, but now he was a model husband. The second wife, who never became a queen, and was never acknowledged, ruled over his later years. She was the most cultivated, thoughtful, and observant of women. She had been a Protestant, and retained, for a long time, the zeal of a convert. She was strongly opposed to the Jansenists, and was much in the confidence of the best men among the clergy. It was universally believed that she promoted persecution, and urged the king to revoke the Edict of Nantes. Her letters are produced in evidence. But her letters have been tampered with by an editor, who was a forger and a falsifier.

The Revocation required no such specific agency, but proceeded by consistent logic, from the tenor of the reign. The theory of government, which is that which Bossuet borrowed from Hobbes, and clothed in the language of Scripture, does not admit that a subject should have a will, a conviction, a conscience of his own, but expects that the spiritual side of him shall be sacrificed to the sovereign, like his blood and treasure. Protestant liberties, respected by Richelieu and still more entirely by Mazarin, who acknowledged the loyalty of Huguenots in the Fronde, became an exotic, an anachronism, a contradiction, and a reproach, as absolute monarchy rose to the zenith. The self-government of the Gallican Church, the administration of the clergy by the clergy, was reduced to the narrowest limits, and the division of power between Church and State was repressed in favour of the State. It could not be borne, in the long-run, that Protestants should govern themselves, while Catholics could not.

The clergy, zealous for the extinction of Jansenism, naturally extended their zeal against those who were more hostile to their Church than Jansenists. Everything else was required to give way to the governing will, and to do honour to the sovereign. The Protestants, under their protecting immunity, were a belated and contumelious remnant of quite another epoch. Exceptions which were tolerable under the undeveloped monarchy were revolting when it had grown to its radiant perfection. The one thing wanting was the Revocation, to abolish the memory of an age in which a king whose throne was insecure conceded to turbulent and disloyal subjects that which the sovereign of a loyal and submissive people would do well to revoke. To fulfil the ideal of royalty, the monument of the weakness of royalty and the strength of revolution must be ingeniously hidden away. The ardour of rising absolutism is the true cause of the Revocation.

William III explained it in another way. He said that the purpose was to sow suspicion and dissension between Protestant and Catholic Powers, by showing that the Catholics at heart, desired to extinguish the Protestant religion. Such a suspicion, properly fanned, would make alliances and coalitions impossible between them. The Waldenses then survived in one or two valleys of Piedmont, much assimilated to the Swiss Calvinists. Lewis required that they should be put down by force, and, when the Duke of Savoy hesitated, offered to supply the necessary troops. This extraordinary zeal, indicating that the spirit of persecution was common to all, and was not stimulated by causes peculiar to France, supplies the only evidence we have to sustain William's interpretation.

It is well to be rational when we can, and never, without compulsion, to attribute motives of passion, or prejudice, or ignorance as a factor in politics. But it is necessary to remember that the Plot was only six years old. The French government knew all about it, and was in the secret of the papers destroyed by Coleman. To them it must have appeared that the English were turned into ferocious assassins by the mere force of their religious belief. There was no visible reason why such things should be in England and not in France, why a majority should be more easily carried away than a minority, or why High Church Anglicans should be more prone to murder a priest or a friar than extreme Calvinists, with whom it was a dogmatic certainty that Catholics were governed by Antichrist.

The Gallican clergy were divided. Several bishops condemned the action of the government, then or afterwards. The great majority promoted or encouraged it, not all by a revival of the persecuting spirit, but partly in the belief that the barriers were falling, and that the Churches were no longer irreconcilable. They were impressed by the fact that Protestantism had outgrown and discarded Luther, that Arminians in Holland, the Lutherans of the University of Helmstedt, the French schools of Sedan and Saumur, the Caroline divines in England, and even Puritans like Leighton and Baxter, were as much opposed as themselves to the doctrine of justification, which was the origin of the Protestant movement. At the same time, the abuses which roused Luther's opposition had disappeared, if not everywhere, at least in France. Between Protestants in that later variation and Gallicans, the difference was not that which subsisted with Ultramontanes. Bossuet and two Englishmen, Holden and Cocker, drew up statements of what they acknowledged to be essentials in religion, which were very unlike the red-hot teaching of Salamanca and Coimbra. As the Protestants were no longer the Protestants who had seceded, the Catholics were no longer the Catholics who had cast them out. The best men of the Sorbonne were as unlike Tetzel and Prierias as Leibniz was unlike John Knox. It was unscientific, it was insincere, to regard the present controversy as a continuation of the old.

These sentiments were very heartily reciprocated among the Lutherans, and people spoke much of a misunderstanding, and represented the Reformation as the result of the unfinished theology, the defective knowledge of Church history, in the sixteenth century. Thus it was that nobody went further than Bossuet at one time in the direction of union, and nobody was more strongly in favour of the harsh measures of Louvois. If the policy of the Revocation had been to divide the European Powers, it proved a failure; for it helped to make them coalesce.

In the following year, 1686, a league was concluded at Augsburg between the emperor, part of the empire, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands. This was the old story. Against nearly the same combination of discordant forces Lewis had held his own in the Dutch war and the negotiations of Nimeguen. England was wanting. William attempted to bring over his father-in-law, and, having failed by friendly arts, undertook to compel him. The Revolution threw the weight of England into the scales, and the war that ensued became the war of the Grand Alliance.

This was the turn in the fortunes of Lewis. He ravaged twenty miles of the Palatinate for the sake of a claim on the part of the Duchess of Orleans, who was a Princess Palatine. His armies were victorious, as usual, at Steenkerk and at Landen. The English were driven to the north-eastern extremity of Ireland; and Trouville had better reason than Van Tromp to fix a broom at his masthead. And then Ireland was lost. The French fleet was destroyed, by very superior numbers, at La Hogue, and the Grand Alliance, aided at last by the ships, and the men, and the money of England, bore down the resistance of exhausted France. William was acknowledged King of England at the close of a struggle which had begun twenty-five years before. Lewis, having formally offered to support James's election to the throne of Poland, when Sobieski died, gave him up. Vauban complained that the war had been too prosperous on the Continent to justify so disastrous a termination.

From the peace of Ryswick the lengthening shadow of the Spanish succession falls upon the scene, and occupies the last years alike of William, of Leopold, and of Lewis. It was known that the King of Spain could not live long; and as the prize came near, Europe, for four years, was hushed in expectation.

Calvin and Henry VIII

FOR NEARLY thirty years Charles V suffered the Reformation to run its course in Germany, against his will, and without admitting the principle of toleration. He did not resign the hope that unity would be restored by a Council which should effectually reform the Church and reconcile Protestants; and there was no prospect of such a consummation unless by the necessity which they created. Therefore, without ceasing to be intolerant in his other dominions, he was content to wait. At length, in 1545, the Council assembled at Trent and dealt with the chief dogmas at issue. Then, when the decrees did not satisfy the Lutherans, the Emperor combined with the Pope to coerce them. A large contingent of papal troops crossed the Alps in 1547, and were met by the Lutheran forces on the Danube. The Protestant League was divided; some of its members, true to the doctrine of non-resistance, remained away; and one of the Saxon princes, Maurice, invaded Saxony, on a promise that he should succeed to the electorate. The Elector hurried back to his own country, the muster on the Danube was broken up, and the Italians gained a decisive victory over the Germans at Muhlberg on the Elbe. Maurice obtained the reward, and being then, by virtue of his new dignity, the chief of the Protestants, turned against the law by which the Emperor, after his victory, attempted to regulate the affairs of religion. He secured the help of France by the surrender of a part of Lorraine, which Moltke did not entirely recover, and, attacking the Emperor when he was not prepared, brought him to terms.

At Augsburg, in 1555, peace was concluded between the religions, and continued until the Thirty Years' War. It abolished the faggot and the stake. The Catholics gained nothing by this, for no Lutherans had thought that it could be lawful to put people of the old religion to death. The Lutherans obtained security that they should not be persecuted. On the other hand, it was agreed that if any territorial prelate seceded, he should forfeit the temporal power which he enjoyed by right of his ecclesiastical dignity. So that the ecclesiastical territories, which composed a large part of Germany, from Salzburg to the Black Forest, and then all down the valley of the Rhine to Liege and Munster, were to be preserved intact. No security whatever was obtained for Protestants outside the Confession of Augsburg. The Lutherans negotiated only for themselves. And no real security was given to the subject. He was not to be punished for his nonconformity, but he might be banished and compelled to pass to the nearest territory of his own persuasion. As these were very near, generally, the suffering was less than it would have been in other countries. Under that condition, the civil power could, if it chose, enforce the unity of religion.

These enactments were an immense advance, practically, but they did not involve the liberty of conscience. The absolute right of the State to determine the religion it professed was not disputed, but it was tempered by the right of emigration. No man could be compelled to change, but he might be compelled to go. State absolutism was unlimited over all who chose to keep their home within the precincts. There was no progress in point of principle. The Christian might have to depart, while the Jew remained. No Protestant could complain if he was expelled from Cologne; no Catholic if he could not have his domicile at Leipzig. The intolerance and fierceness of the Germans found relief in the wholesale burning of witches.

Charles V would have nothing to do with these innovations. He left it all to his brother Ferdinand, King of Bohemia and Hungary, who was more elastic and pliable than himself. With the Turk over the border, he could not exist without the goodwill of both parties; and he desired the vote of Lutheran electors to make him emperor. He had no Inquisition in one part of his dominions contradicting and condemning toleration in the rest. He was an earnest promoter of reform in the shape of concession. The embers of Hussitism were not extinct in the region of which Bohemia was the centre. Ferdinand had that as well as Lutheranism to contend with, and he desired to avert peril by allowing priests to marry and laymen to receive the cup. That is to say, he desired to surrender the two points for which the Church had struggled successfully against the State in the eleventh century, against the Bohemians in the fifteenth. His conciliatory policy was assisted by the moderation of the Archbishop of Mentz. At Rome they said that the empire was divided between Christ and the devil. But the Pope, advised by Jesuits, made no protest.

Ferdinand had so regulated things in his brother's interest, that the measure did not include the Netherlands. The laws which afterwards produced the revolt were not invalid by the Peace of Religion, and the victims of Alva had no right to appeal to it. Charles V did not choose to surrender that which alone gave unity to his complicated empire. The German princes were allowed to have subjects of one religion only. That prerogative was denied to the Emperor. The imperial dignity, in its ideal character as the appointed defender and advocate of the universal Church, existed no longer. A monarch reigning over Catholic and Protestant alike was an inferior representative of unity and authority, and a poor copy of Charlemagne. There was no obvious reason for his existence. It was an intolerable hypocrisy to be the friend of Protestants where they were too strong, and to burn them where they were weak. The work of his life was undone. In more than thirty years of effort he had neither reconciled the Protestants nor reformed the Church. The settlement of the Reformation was an acknowledgment of defeat, and the result of his career was that religious division had become the law of his empire. Therefore, when the Peace of Religion was concluded, Charles V laid down the sceptre. The new empire, based on religious equality, he gave to his brother. It was only by detaching it from his hereditary dominions that he could reconstruct what had crumbled to pieces in his hands. Then he rebuilt the great conservative and Catholic monarchy for his son, assigning to him Spain, Naples, Milan, the Netherlands, the Indies, England, and the supreme protectorate of Rome. The mixed possessions went to Ferdinand. The boundless empire, based on the principle of unity, and the championship of the Catholic Church all the world over, was for Philip II. All that was his, to keep or to resign. All that he chose to resign. For with his prodigious good fortune, his inheritance of greatness, his unexampled experience of complex affairs, his opportunities for having at his elbow the best talent in the world, his admirably prudent and moderate temper, Charles V broke down over the problem of the Reformation, as we shall see that the Counter-Reformation was fatal to his son. And it was in this way that Philip found the lines of his policy laid down for him, before he assumed the crown of Spain, by the conditions under which his father abdicated. The ancient function of the empire passed to him, and the purpose of his vast dominion, the intelligible reason of its apparition among the nations, was to accomplish that in which, under his more gifted father, imperial Germany had failed.

At the date we have reached, soon after the middle of the century, Luther was dead, and the churches of the Confession of Augsburg had reached their full measure of expansion. They predominated in Germany, and still more in Scandinavia; but Luther had not endowed them with institutions, or imparted to them the gift of self-government. In religious ideas, he was inexhaustible; but he was deficient in constructive capacity. The local governments, which were effective, had defended the Reformation and assured its success against the hostility of the central government, which was intermittent and inoperative, and as they afforded the necessary protection, they assumed the uncontested control. Lutheranism is governed not by the spiritual, but by the temporal power, in agreement with the high conception of the State which Luther derived from the long conflict of the Middle Ages. It is the most conservative form of religion, and less liable than any other to collision with the civil authority on which it rests. By its lack of independence and flexibility it was unfitted to succeed where governments were hostile, or to make its way by voluntary effort through the world. Moreover, Luther's vigorous personality has so much in it of the character of his nation, that they are attracted even by his defects—a thing which you can hardly expect to occur elsewhere. Therefore it was in other forms, and under other names, that the Protestant religion spread over Europe. They differed from the original less in their theology, which Luther had completed, than in questions of Church government, which he abandoned to others.

Apart from the sects, which are of the first importance, but whose story belongs to the Puritan Revolution and to the following century, two other systems arose at the time, one in Switzerland, the other in England. The general result of what happened when the Reformation, ceasing to be national, became European, was that it prevailed in the north, that it miscarried in the south, that it divided and agitated the centre. Switzerland was divided, the towns becoming Protestant on the Zwinglian type, the country people remaining Catholic, especially in the central cantons. The chief towns, Berne and Bale, imitated the example of Zurich, where Zwingli committed the government of the Church to the authorities that governed the State, differing from the Lutherans in this, that Zwinglianism was republican and revolutionary. In Germany, where the organisation was defective, there was little discipline or control. In Switzerland there was a more perfect order, at the price of subjection to the secular authority. Those were the rocks ahead; that was the condition of the Protestant churches, when a man arose amongst them with a genius for organisation, a strong sense of social discipline, and a profound belief in ecclesiastical authority.

At the time when persecution suddenly began to rage in France John Calvin escaped to Strasburg, and there composed his Institute, the finest work of Reformation literature. He wrote with a view to show that there was nothing in the Protestant religion to alarm the government, and that the change it demanded was in the Church, not in the State. He dealt more largely with theology than with practical religion, and did not disclose those ideas on the government of religious society that have made him the equal of Luther in History. Geneva, when he came there in 1536, was a small walled town of less than 20,000 inhabitants, with so narrow a territory that France was within cannon range on one side and Savoy on the other. It was secure in the alliance and protection of Berne, which came almost to the gates; for what is now the canton of Vaud was, until the French Revolution, a Bernese dependency. It had been an episcopal city, but the bishop had retired to Annecy, and the Genevese Reformation had been at the same time a Genevese Revolution. Power over Church and State passed to the commonwealth, to the municipality. The new masters, rejoicing in their independence, did not at once settle down; the place was disturbed by factions, and was not a scene of edification.

Calvin set to work to reform the community, to introduce public order and domestic virtue. He was a foreigner by birth, and not conciliatory in disposition; and after a brief experiment, the offended Genevese cast him out. He was not yet thirty. He returned to Strasburg and rewrote his Institute, expounding his theocratic theory of the government of the Church by the Church, and of the State by the union of Church and State. He was present at the Diet of Ratisbon, and saw the Lutherans in a yielding mood, when Melanchthon and Contarini, with the urgent mediator Gropper of Cologne, were very near understanding each other. That event, as everybody knows, did not come off; but everybody does not know the consequences, for we shall see that the Counter-Reformation sprang from those conferences at Ratisbon. Calvin had no part in Irenics. He was persuaded that the work before them was to create not a new church, but a new world, to remodel not doctrine only, but society; that the chasm could never be bridged, but must grow wider with time. That conviction was not yet strongly held by the German Lutherans, and they do not all hold it at the present day. During his absence Cardinal Sadolet wrote to the Genevese, intreating them not to break up the unity of Latin Christendom; for Geneva was the first town beyond the Teutonic range that went over. Sadolet was not only reputed the finest Latinist of the age, but he was the most gracious of the Roman prelates, a friend of Erasmus, an admirer of Contarini, and the author of a commentary on St. Paul in which Lutheran justification was suspected. The Genevese were not then so rich in literature as they afterwards became, and they were not prepared to answer the challenge, when Calvin did it for them. In 1541, after a change of government, he was recalled. He came back on condition that his plans for the Church were accepted, and his position remained unshaken until his death.

The Strasburg clergy, in losing him, wrote that he was unsurpassed among men, and the Genevese felt his superiority and put him on the commission which revised the Constitution. It was not changed in any important way, and the influence of the Geneva Constitution upon Calvin was greater than his influence on the government of Geneva. The city was governed by a Lesser or Inner Council of twenty-five, composed of the four syndics, the four of last year, and as many more as made up the twenty-five. These belonged to the ruling families, and were seldom renewed. Whilst the Lesser Council administered, through the syndics, the Great Council of two hundred was the legislature. Its members were appointed, not by popular election, but by the Lesser Council. Between the twenty-five and the two hundred were the sixty, who only appeared when the Lesser Council wanted to prepare a majority in the Greater Council. Its function was to mediate between the executive and the legislature. It was a system of concentric circles; for the twenty-five became the sixty by adding the necessary number of thirty-five, and the sixty became the two hundred by the addition of one hundred and forty members. Beyond this was the assembly of citizens, who only met twice a year to elect the syndics and the judge, from names presented by the Lesser Council. The popular element was excluded. Beyond the citizens were the burghers, who did not enjoy the franchise. Between the two there was material for friction and a constitutional struggle, the struggle from which Rousseau proceeded, and which had some share in preparing the French Revolution.

Upon this background Calvin designed his scheme of Church government and discipline. His purpose was to reform society as well as doctrine. He did not desire orthodoxy apart from virtue, but would have the faith of the community manifested in its moral condition. And as the mere repression of scandals would promote hypocrisy, it was necessary that private life should be investigated by the same authority that was obeyed in public. Teaching and preaching belong to the clergy alone. But jurisdiction is exercised by the pastors in conjunction with the elders. And the elders were the choice of the civil power, two representing the Lesser Council, four the sixty, and six the two hundred. That was all that he could obtain. His success was incomplete, because the government worked with him. A hostile government would be more adapted to his purpose, for then the elders would be elected, not by the State, but by the congregation. With a weak clergy the civil magistrate would predominate over the Church, having a majority in the consistory. While Calvin lived no such thing was likely to happen. The Church co-operated with the State to put down sin, the one with spiritual weapons, the other with the material sword. The moral force assisted the State, the physical force assisted the Church. A scheme substantially the same was introduced by Capito at Frankfort in 1535.

But the secret of Calvin's later influence is that, he claimed for the Church more independence than he obtained. The surging theory of State omnipotence did not affect his belief in the principle of self-government. Through him an idea of mutual check was introduced which became effective at a later time, though nothing more unlike liberty could be found than the state of Geneva when he was the most important man there. Every ascertainable breach of divine law was punished with rigour. Political error was visited with the sword, and religious error with the stake. In this spirit Calvin carried out his scheme of a Christian society and crushed opposition. Already, before he came, the Council had punished vice with imprisonment and exile, and the idea was traceable back to the Middle Ages. It had never found so energetic an advocate.

The crown was set upon the system by the trial and execution of Servetus. The Germans, in their aversion for metaphysics, had avoided the discussion of questions regarding the Trinity which in the south of Europe excited more attention. As early as 1531, long before the rise of the Socinians, the Spaniard Servetus taught anti-Trinitarianism, and continued to do it for more than twenty years. He remained isolated, and it was not until after his death that his opinions attracted followers. Calvin, who thought him dangerous, both by his doctrines and his talent, declared that if ever he came to Geneva he would never leave it alive. He caused him to be denounced to the Inquisition, and he was imprisoned at Vienne on the Rhone, tried, and condemned to be burnt at a slow fire, on evidence supplied by Calvin in seventeen letters. Servetus escaped, and on his way to Italy stopped at Geneva, under a false name, for he knew who it was that had set the machinery of the Holy Office in motion against him, and who had said that he deserved to be burnt wherever he could be found. He was recognised, and Calvin caused him to be arrested and tried without a defender. The authorities at Vienne demanded his extradition, and the Governor of Dauphiny requested that any money Servetus had about him might be sent back to him, as he was to have had it if the execution had occurred in his territory. Calvin disputed with his prisoner, convicted him of heresy, and claimed to have convicted him of Pantheism, and he threatened to leave Geneva if Servetus was not condemned. The Council did not think that the errors of a Spanish scholar who was on his way to Italy were any business of theirs, and they consulted the Swiss churches, hoping to be relieved of a very unpleasant responsibility. The Swiss divines pronounced against Servetus, and he was sentenced to die by fire, although Calvin wished to mitigate the penalty, but refused, at a last interview, the Spaniard's appeal for mercy. The volume which cost Servetus his life was burnt with him, but falling from his neck into the flames, it was snatched from the burning, and may still be seen in its singed condition, a ghastly memorial of Reformation ethics, in the National Library at Paris.

The event at Geneva received the sanction of many leading divines, both of Switzerland and Germany; and things had moved so far since Luther was condemned for his toleration, that Melanchthon could not imagine the possibility of a doubt. Hundreds of humble Anabaptists had suffered a like fate and nobody minded. But the story of the execution at Champel left an indelible and unforgotten scar. For those who consistently admired persecution, it left the estimate of Calvin unchanged. Not so with others, when they learnt how Calvin had denounced Servetus long before to the Catholic Inquisitors in France; how he had done so under the disguise of an intermediary, in a prolonged correspondence; how he had then denied the fact, and had done a man to death who was guilty of no wrong to Geneva, and over whom he had no jurisdiction. It weakened the right of Protestants to complain when they were in the hands of the executioner, and it deprived the terrors of the Inquisition of their validity as an argument in the controversy with Rome. Therefore, with the posting of the Thesis at Wittenberg; with Worms, and Augsburg, and Ratisbon; with the flight of Charles V before Maurice, and with the Peace of Religion, it marks one of the great days in the Church history of the century. But it obtained still greater significance in the times that were to come. On the whole, though not without exceptions, the patriarchs approved. Their conclusions were challenged by younger and obscurer men, and a controversy began which has not ceased to cause the widest diversion among men.

The party of Liberty—Castellio, Socinus, Coornhert in the sixteenth century, like Williams and Penn, Locke and Bayle in the seventeenth—were not Protestants on the original foundation. They were Sectaries; and the charge of human freedom was transferred from the churches to the sects, from the men in authority to the men in opposition, to Socinians and Arminians and Independents, and the Society of Friends. By the thoroughness and definiteness of system, and its practical adaptability, Calvinism was the form in which Protestant religion could be best transplanted; and it struck root and flourished in awkward places where Lutheranism could obtain no foothold, in the absence of a sufficient prop. Calvanism spread not only abroad but at home, and robbed Luther of part of Germany, of the Palatinate, of Anhalt, of the House of Brandenburg, and in great part of Hungary. This internal division was a fact of importance later on. It assisted the work of the Counter-Reformation, and became the key to the Thirty Years' War. The same thing that strengthened the Protestant cause abroad weakened it on its own soil. Apart, then, from points of doctrine, the distinctive marks of Calvin's influence are that it promoted expansion, and that it checked the reigning idea that nothing limits the power of the State.

Exactly the reverse of this distinguishes the movement which took place at the same time in England, proceeding from the government before the wave of Reformation struck the shores. Here there were local reminiscences of Lollardry, and a tradition, as old as the Conquest, of resistance to the medieval claims of Rome; but the first impulse did not arise on the domain of religion. From the beginning there was a body of opinion hostile to the king's marriage. The practice was new, it was discountenanced by earlier authorities, and it belonged to the same series of innovations as the recent system of indulgences which roused the resistance of Germany. Precedents were hard to find. Alexander VI had granted the same dispensation to Emmanuel of Portugal, but with misgivings; and had refused it until the king undertook to make war in person against the Moors of Africa. Julius II, coming immediately after, had exacted no such condition from Henry VII, so that he had done what was never done before him. Sixtus V afterwards declared that Clement had deserved the calamities that befell him, because he had not dissolved so unholy a union. Others thought so at the time. No protest could well be heard before 1523, when Adrian censured his predecessors for exceeding their powers. After that it could be no offence to say that Julius was one of those whose conduct was condemned by his next successor but one. But it was still a dangerous point to raise, because any action taken upon it implied a breach with the queen's nephew Charles V, and the loss of the old alliance with the House of Burgundy.

After the triumph of Pavia, the captivity of Francis I, and his defiance of the treaty by which he obtained his deliverance, Wolsey accepted a pension of 10,000 ducats from France, England renounced friendship with the Habsburgs, and the breach was already accomplished. The position of Catharine became intolerable, and she led the opposition to Wolsey, the author of the change. Therefore, from 1526, both the religious and the political motive for silence ceased to operate, and there were, just then, evident motives for speech. There was no hope that Catharine would have a son, and the secret that a queen may reign by her own right, that the nation may be ruled by the distaff, had not been divulged in England. In foreign policy and in home policy alike, there were interests which favoured a new marriage, if its legitimacy could be assured.

Wolsey had an additional inducement to promote what we call the divorce, though it was nothing of the kind, in the fact that the queen was his enemy. He had reasons to hope for success. The armies of Charles had invaded Italy and threatened Rome, and the papal minister, Giberti, enchanted with the zeal of the great English cardinal, wished that he had him at the Vatican in the place of the tremulous and inconstant Clement. Spain was the enemy; England was the ally. It was probable that the Pope would do what he could in the interest of England, to keep up its enmity with Spain. The case was a difficult one, not to be decided on evidence. Something would remain uncertain, and some allowance must be made for good or ill will at Rome. If the invading Imperialists were defeated, the prospects would be good. If they held their ground and made the Pope their dependent, it would be all over with the divorce. Wolsey admitted afterwards that he prompted the attempt, and persuaded the king that he could carry it through. But at first he shifted the responsibility on to the French envoy, Grammont, afterwards a cardinal, who came over to arrange a marriage with Mary Tudor. He said that when he raised some preliminary objection, Grammont lost his temper, and told him that they might be glad of such an offer for a princess who was not legitimate. Another story put into circulation was that Henry had married under protest, and by compulsion, having been warned that if he refused he would be dethroned. Erasmus, who admired Henry, took care to explain that a king of England who lost his throne was likely to lose his life. Wolsey intended to cement the French alliance by a marriage with Renee, daughter of Lewis XII, not believing that Anne Boleyn would be an obstacle. But the friends of Anne, the cluster of English nobles who were weary of being excluded from affairs by the son of the butcher of Ipswich, soon made it clear that she was only to be won by the promise of a crown.

From that moment Wolsey, with all his astuteness, was digging his own pit. If he succeeded, he would fall to make way for the Boleyn faction. If he failed, he involved the Catholic cause in his downfall. The first step in the business was the demand for permission to marry a lady not named, notwithstanding any impediment arising from an intrigue with her sister. With that the secret was out, and they knew at Rome what the king's scruples were worth. This was done behind the cardinal's back. When he took the matter in hand, he asked that the Pope should dissolve the first marriage, on the ground that Julius II had issued a dispensation in terms which could not be justified. That this might not be taken as denying the plenitude of the prerogative, he further asked for a dispensation to marry a second wife without repudiating the first. And he desired that the cause might be judged in this country and not at Rome.

When these negotiations commenced, in the spring and summer of 1527, Rome had been sacked by the Imperialists, and Clement was a prisoner in St. Angelo, or a fugitive at Orvieto, with the strongest motive for resentment against the author of his humiliation. By the summer of 1528, when Lautrec was in Italy at the head of a French army, Clement had conceded virtually the whole of the English demands. He removed every impediment to the marriage with Anne other than the fact that Henry was married already. He authorised the trial of the case in England by Wolsey and Warham; or again, by Wolsey and Campeggio, Archbishop of Bologna, the best jurist of the sacred college. He pronounced on the question of law, leaving questions of fact to the legates, and he pronounced against the terms of the dispensation, intimating that Julius had done what no Pope has a right to do. He promised that judgment as given in England would be final, and that he would not remove the cause to Rome. He was willing that Richmond, the king's son, should marry the king's daughter, Mary Tudor. He did not turn a deaf ear even to the proposal of bigamy. For several years he continued to suggest that Henry should marry Anne Boleyn and renounce the quest of a divorce. In 1530, somebody informed him that this would not do, and that brought him to the last of his resources. He proposed to the Imperialists, in order to prevent a schism, that Henry should live with Anne without marriage and without divorce. That he might not be hopelessly wrong with the Emperor, he required that the most compromising of these documents should be kept secret. His friendliness rose with the French advance and fell with the French disasters. If Lautrec would approach the vicinity of Rome, he said, he would do more, because the Emperor would excuse him on the ground of compulsion. When Campeggio reached England, Lautrec was dead and his army defeated. The papal secretary wrote, "Decide nothing, for the Emperor is victorious, and we cannot afford to provoke him." There was nothing more to be done.

While the Court was sitting in London, the Pope made his peace with Charles; Catharine appealed to him from his legates in England, and he was obliged to call the case before him. The queen's friends demanded the strongest measures, and Aleander wrote that if you resisted Henry VIII he became as gentle as a lamb. Such persuasions did not influence the Pope, who put off action as long as he could, knowing that a breach would inevitably follow. The French Chancellor warned him that he would be known to be acting under pressure of the Emperor, that the censure of Henry would be resented as the victory of Charles. The French defeat in Italy was the ruin of Wolsey, who had caused the breach with Spain without any advantage. A year later, when Campeggio prorogued the Legatine Court, and the divorce had to be given up, he was dismissed.

One further step had to be taken before settling the matter in England. By advice of a Cambridge Don the universities were consulted. They gave various replies, but those that helped the king were not convincing, for they cost him more than L100,000 and he obliged the clergy to give him that sum. As it was obvious for what purpose Henry was arming himself with these opinions, Charles V conceived serious scruples, and thought for a moment that to give way might be the lesser evil. At the same time he sent 450,000 ducats to Rome to facilitate matters; for the divorce was the one pending question which delayed the conclusion of that treaty of Barcelona which laid Italy for centuries at the feet of Spain. The uncertainty in the policy of Rome as the power of the Emperor rose and fell, the open avowal that so much depended on political considerations, besides the strange proposal in respect of two wives, led to a belief in England that the cause was lost by the pressure of interest and fear, not by principle. Therefore, the establishment of the Spanish dominion over Italy was quickly followed by the rejection of papal supremacy in favour of the English state. The bishops themselves were impressed with the danger of allowing the spiritual power to be influenced through the temporal power by an enemy of this country, so that they made no resistance. England broke with the Papacy on these, and not on strictly religious grounds.

Tunstall, coming up to attend Parliament, suffered himself to be stopped by a letter from the king, dispensing with his presence. Fisher alone offered opposition. He caused the royal supremacy to be accepted with the proviso, "so far as the divine law permits." And as this proved only a stepping-stone to the unconditional headship of the Church, he regarded it as his own fault. He refused submission, and put himself in communication with the Imperialists with a view to effective intervention. Sir Thomas More, the most modern and original mind among the men of his time, showed greater caution. He admitted the right of Parliament to determine the succession, and made no struggle for Mary Tudor, as he had made none for her mother. He did not openly contest the royal supremacy until after sentence. Besides these two, a large number of monks were executed during Cromwell's ministry.

Having given up the Pope, the government had no ground for keeping the religious orders. They did not belong to the primitive Church, and some of them, Grey Friars and Black Friars, were an essential part of the medieval system which was rejected with the papal authority. When Rome was taken in 1527, and Clement a prisoner, Wolsey, with some other cardinals, proposed that he should act as his vicar during captivity, so that the Church should not be receiving orders from the Emperor through the Pope. This proposal is a first glimpse of what was now introduced. The idea of a middle course, between Rome and Wittemberg, occurred easily to every constant reader of Erasmus; and many divines of the fifteenth century suggested something similar. What then prevailed was not a theological view, but a political view. The sovereignty of the Modern State, uncontrolled by the opinions of men, commanded the minds both of Cromwell and of Gardiner, rivals though they were. Cromwell is the first public man known to have been a student of Machiavelli's writings; and the first to denounce them was his enemy, Reginald Pole. It is the advent of a new polity. Gardiner believed in it, thinking that nothing else could save Catholicism after the mismanagement of the Church in Germany. And it is the dominant note of the following years, whichever party was prevailing.

That is the broad distinction between the continental Reformation and the contemporary event in England. The one was the strongest religious movement in the history of Christendom; the other was borne onward on the crest of a wave not less overwhelming, the state that admits no division of power. Therefore, when the spirit of foreign Protestantism caught the English people they moved on lines distinct from those fixed by the Tudors; and the reply of the seventeenth century to the sixteenth was not a development, but a reaction. Whereas Henry could exclude, or impose, or change religion at will with various aid from the gibbet, the block, or the stake, there were some among the Puritans who enforced, though they did not discover, the contrary principle, that a man's conscience is his castle, with kings and parliaments at a respectful distance.

Beginning of the Modern State

MODERN HISTORY tells how the last four hundred years have modified the medieval conditions of life and thought. In comparison with them, the Middle Ages were the domain of stability, and continuity, and instinctive evolution, seldom interrupted by such originators as Gregory VII or St. Francis of Assisi. Ignorant of History, they allowed themselves to be governed by the unknown Past; ignorant of Science, they never believed in hidden forces working onwards to a happier future. The sense of decay was upon them; and each generation seemed so inferior to the last, in ancient wisdom and ancestral virtue, that they found comfort in the assurance that the end of the world was at hand.

Yet the most profound and penetrating of the causes that have transformed society is a medieval inheritance. It was late in the thirteenth century that the psychology of Conscience was closely studied for the first time, and men began to speak of it as the audible voice of God, that never misleads or fails, and that ought to be obeyed always, whether enlightened or darkened, right or wrong. The notion was restrained, on its appearance, by the practice of regarding opposition to Church power as equivalent to specific heresy, which depressed the secret monitor below the public and visible authority. With the decline of coercion the claim of Conscience rose, and the ground abandoned by the inquisitor was gained by the individual. There was less reason then for men to be cast of the same type; there was a more vigorous growth of independent character, and a conscious control over its formation. The knowledge of good and evil was not an exclusive and sublime prerogative assigned to states, or nations, or majorities. When it had been defined and recognised as something divine in human nature, its action was to limit power by causing the sovereign voice within to be heard above the expressed will and settled custom of surrounding men. By that hypothesis, the soul became more sacred than the state, because it receives light from above, as well as because its concerns are eternal, and out of all proportion with the common interests of government. That is the root from which liberty of Conscience was developed, and all other liberty needed to confine the sphere of power, in order that it may not challenge the supremacy of that which is highest and best in man.

The securities by which this purpose has been attempted compose the problem of all later history, and centuries were spent in ascertaining and constructing them. If in the main the direction has been upward, the movement has been tardy, the conflict intense, the balance often uncertain. The passion for power over others can never cease to threaten mankind, and is always sure of finding new and unforeseen allies in continuing its martyrology. Therefore, the method of modern progress was revolution. By a series of violent shocks the nations in succession have struggled to shake off the Past, to reverse the action of Time and the verdict of success, and to rescue the world from the reign of the dead. They have been due less to provocation by actual wrong than to the attraction of ideal right, and the claims that inspired them were universal and detached. Progress has imposed increasing sacrifices on society, on behalf of those who can make no return, from whose welfare it derives no equivalent benefit, whose existence is a burden, an evil, eventually a peril to the community. The mean duration of life, the compendious test of improvement, is prolonged by all the chief agents of civilisation, moral and material, religious and scientific, working together, and depends on preserving, at infinite cost, which is infinite loss, the crippled child and the victim of accident, the idiot and the madman, the pauper and the culprit, the old and infirm, curable and incurable. This growing dominion of disinterested motive, this liberality towards the weak, in social life, corresponds to that respect for the minority, in political life, which is the essence of freedom. It is an application of the same principle of self-denial, and of the higher law.

Taking long periods, we perceive the advance of moral over material influence, the triumph of general ideas, the gradual amendment. The line of march will prove, on the whole, to have been from force and cruelty to consent and association, to humanity, rational persuasion, and the persistent appeal to common, simple, and evident maxims. We have dethroned necessity, in the shape both of hunger and of fear, by extending the scene from Western Europe to the whole world, so that all shall contribute to the treasure of civilisation, and by taking into partnership in the enjoyment of its rewards those who are far off as well as those who are below. We shall give our attention to much that has failed and passed away, as well as to the phenomena of progress, which help to build up the world in which we live. For History must be our deliverer not only from the undue influence of other times, but from the undue influence of our own, from the tyranny of environment and the pressure of the air we breathe. It requires all historic forces to produce their record and submit to judgment, and it promotes the faculty of resistance to contemporary surroundings by familiarity with other ages and other orbits of thought.

In these latter days the sum of differences in international character has been appreciably bound down by the constant process of adaptation and adjustment, and by exposure to like influences. The people of various countries are swayed by identical interests, they are absorbed in the same problems, and thrill with the same emotions; their classics are interchangeable, authorities in science are nearly alike for all, and they readily combine to make experiments and researches in common. Towards 1500, European nations, having been fashioned and composed out of simple elements during the thousand years between the fall of the Roman Empire and that of its successor is the East, had reached full measure of differentiation. They were estranged from each other, and were inclined to treat the foreigner as the foe. Ancient links were loosened, the Pope was no longer an accepted peacemaker; and the idea of an international code, overriding the will of nations and the authority of sovereigns, had not dawned upon philosophy. Between the old order that was changing and the new that was unborn, Europe had an inorganic interval to go through.

Modern History begins under stress of the Ottoman Conquest. Constantinople fell, after an attempt to negotiate for help, by the union of the Greek and Latin Churches. The agreement come to at Florence was not ratified at home; the attempt was resented, and led to an explosion of feeling that made even subjugation by the Turk seem for the moment less intolerable, and that hastened the catastrophe by making Western Christians slow to sacrifice themselves for their implacable brethren in the East. Offers of help were made, conditional on acceptance of the Florentine decree, and were rejected with patriotic and theological disdain. A small force of papal and Genoese mercenaries shared the fate of the defenders, and the end could not have been long averted, even by the restoration of religious unity. The Powers that held back were not restrained by dogmatic arguments only. The dread of Latin intolerance was the most favourable circumstance encountered by the Turks in the Eastern Empire, and they at once offered protection and immunities to the patriarch and his prelates. The conquest of the entire peninsula, with the islands, occupied a generation, and it was good policy meanwhile to do nothing that would diminish the advantage or awaken alarm of persecution. Their system required the increase rather than the conversion of Christian subjects, for the tribute of gold as well as the tribute of blood. The Janissaries were selected among the sons of Christian parents, who became renegades, and who, having neither home nor family, no life but in camp, no employment but arms, became not only the best professional soldiers in the world, but a force constantly active to undo the work of pacific statesmen and to find fresh occasion for war. There were occasional outbreaks of blind ferocity, and at all times there was the incapacity of an uncivilised race to understand the character and the interest of alien subjects more cultivated than themselves. But there was not at first the sense of unmitigated tyranny that arose later; and there was not so great a contrast with life as it was under Italian despots as to make Christians under the Sultan passionately long for deliverance.

From the perjury of Varna, in 1444, when the Christians broke the treaty just concluded at Szegedin, it was understood that they could never be trusted to keep engagements entered into with people of another religion. It seemed a weak-minded exaggeration of hypocrisy to abstain from preying on men so furiously divided, so full of hatred, so incapable of combining in defence of their altars and their homes, so eager in soliciting aid and intervention from the infidel in their own disputes. The several principalities of the circumference, Servia, Bosnia, Wallachia, the Morea, and the islands, varying in nationality and in religion, were attacked separately, and made no joint defence. In Epirus, Scanderberg, once a renegade, then in communion with Rome, drawing his supplies from the opposite coast of Apulia, which his sentinels on Cape Linguetta could see at sunrise, maintained himself for many years victoriously, knowing that his country would perish with him. John Hunyadi had defended Christendom on the Hungarian frontier so well that the monarchy of his son stemmed the tide of invasion for seventy years. While the Turkish outposts kept watch on the Danube, Mahomet seized Otranto, and all the way upwards to the Alps there was no force capable of resisting him. Just then, he died, Otranto was lost, and the enterprise was not renewed. His people were a nation of soldiers, not a nation of sailors. For operations beyond sea they relied on the seamen of the AEgean, generally Christians, as they had required the help of Genoese ships to ferry them over the Hellespont.

Under Bajazet, the successor, there was some rest for Europe. His brother, who was a dangerous competitor, as the crown went to the one who survived, fled for safety to the Christians, and was detained as a hostage, beyond the possibility of ransom, by the Knights of St. John, and then by the Pope. The Sultan paid, that he might be kept quiet.

For years the Turks were busy in the East. Selim conquered Syria and part of Persia. He conquered Arabia, and was acknowledged by the Sheriff of Mecca caliph and protector of the holy shrine. He conquered Egypt and assumed the prerogative of the Imaum, which had been a shadow at Cairo, but became, at Constantinople, the supreme authority in Islam. Gathering up the concentrated resources of the Levant, Solyman the Magnificent turned, at last, against the enemy who guarded the gates of civilised Europe. Having taken Belgrade, he undertook, in 1526, the crowning campaign of Turkish history. At the battle of Mohacs Hungary lost her independence. The Turks found a Transylvanian magnate who was willing to receive the crown from them; and the broad valley of the Danube continued to be their battlefield until the days of Sobieski and Eugene. But the legitimate heir of King Ladislas, who fell at Mohacs, was Ferdinand, only brother of Charles V; and Hungary, with the vast region then belonging to the Bohemian crown, passing to the same hands as the ancient inheritance of the Habsburgs, constituted the great Austrian monarchy which extended from the Adriatic to the far Sarmatian plain, and Solyman's victory brought him face to face with the first Power able to arrest his progress. The Turks were repulsed at Vienna in 1529, at Malta in 1564. This was their limit in Western Europe; and after Lepanto, in 1571, their only expansion was at the expense of Poland and Muscovy. They still wielded almost boundless resources; the entire seaboard from Cattaro all round by the Euxine to the Atlantic was Mahomedan, and all but one-fourth of the Mediterranean was a Turkish lake. It was long before they knew that it was not their destiny to be masters of the Western as well as of the Eastern world.

While this heavy cloud overhung the Adriatic and the Danube, and the countries within reach of the Turk were in peril of extinction, the nations farther west were consolidating rapidly into unity and power. By the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, by their conquest of Granada and the rise of a new hemisphere at their command, Spain for the first time became a great Power; while France, having expelled the English, having instituted a permanent army, acquired vast frontier provinces, and crushed the centrifugal forces of feudalism, was more directly formidable and more easily aggressive. These newly created Powers portended danger in one direction. Their increase was not so much in comparison with England or with Portugal, as in contrast with Italy. England, through the Tudors, had achieved internal tranquillity; and Portugal was already at the head of Europe in making the ocean tributary to trade. But Italy was divided, unwarlike, poor in the civic virtues that made Switzerland impregnable, rich in the tempting luxuries of civilisation, an inexhaustible treasure-house of much that the neighbours greatly needed and could never find elsewhere. The best writers and scholars and teachers, the most consummate artists, the ablest commanders by land and sea, the deepest explorers of the mystery of State that have been known before or since, all the splendours of the Renaissance, and the fruits of a whole century of progress were there, ready to be appropriated and employed for its own benefit by a paramount Power.

It was obvious that the countries newly strengthened, the countries growing in unity and concentration and superfluous forces, would encroach upon those that were demoralised and weakened. By strict reason of State, this was not the policy of France; for the French frontiers were assigned by nature everywhere but in the north-east. There the country was open, the enemy's territory approached the capital; and the true line of expansion was towards Antwerp, or Liege, or Strasburg. But the French were invited into Italy with promise of welcome, because the Angevin claim to Naples, defeated in 1462, had passed to the King of France. The Aragonese, who had been successful in resisting it, was not legitimate, and had been compelled again to struggle for existence by the Rising of the Barons. The rising was suppressed; the discontented Neapolitans went into exile; and they were now in France, prophesying easy triumphs if Charles VIII would extend his hand to take the greatness that belonged to the heir of the house of Anjou. They were followed by the most important of the Italian Cardinals, Della Rovere, nephew of a former Pope, himself afterwards the most famous pontiff who had appeared for centuries. Armed with the secrets of the Conclave, the Cardinal insisted that Alexander VI should be deposed, on the ground that he had paid for the papacy in ascertainable sums of money and money's worth; whereas spiritual office obtained in that way was ipso facto void.

The advent of the French, heralded by the passionate eloquence of Savonarola, was also hailed by Florence and its dependencies, in their impatience of the Medicean rule, now that it had dropped from the hands of the illustrious Lorenzo into those of his less competent son. Lodovico Sforza, the Regent of Milan, was also among those who called in the French, as he had a family quarrel with Naples. His father, Francesco, the most successful of the Condottieri, who acquired the Milanese by marriage with a Visconti, is known by that significant saying: "May God defend me from my friends. From my enemies I can defend myself." As the Duke of Orleans also descended from the Visconti, Lodovico wished to divert the French to the more alluring prospect of Naples.

In September 1494 Charles VIII invaded Italy by the Mont Genevre, with an army equal to his immediate purpose. His horsemen still displayed the medieval armour, wrought by the artistic craftsmen of the Renaissance. They were followed by artillery, the newer arm which, in another generation, swept the steel-clad knight away. French infantry was not thought so well of. But the Swiss had become, in their wars with Burgundy, the most renowned of all foot-soldiers. They were unskilled in manoeuvres; but their pikemen, charging in dense masses, proved irresistible on many Italian fields; until it was discovered that they would serve for money on either side, and that when opposed to their countrymen they refused to fight. At Pavia they were cut down by the Spaniards and their fame began to wane. They were Germans, hating Austria, and their fidelity to the golden lilies is one of the constant facts of French history, until the Swiss guard and the white flag vanished together, in July 1830.

Charles reached Naples early in 1495, having had no resistance to overcome, but having accomplished nothing, and having manifested no distinct purpose on his way, when he found himself, for a moment, master of Florence and of Rome. The deliverance of Constantinople was an idea that occurred inevitably to a man of enterprise who was in possession of Southern Italy. It was the advanced post of Europe against the East, of Christendom against Islam; the proper rendezvous of Crusaders; the source of supplies; the refuge of squadrons needing to refit. The Sultan was not an overwhelming warrior, like his father; he had not, like Selim, his successor, control of the entire East, and he was held in check by the existence of his brother, whom Charles took with him, on leaving Rome, with a view to ulterior service, but whom he lost soon after.

Charles VIII was not a man ripened by experience of great affairs, and he had assumed the title of King of Jerusalem, as a sign of his crusading purpose. But he also called himself King of Sicily, as representing the Anjous, and this was not a disused and neglected derelict. For the island belonged to the King of Aragon, the most politic and capable of European monarchs. Before starting for Italy, Charles had made terms with him, and Ferdinand, in consideration of a rectified frontier, had engaged, by the Treaty of Barcelona, to take no unfriendly advantage of his neighbour's absence. The basis of this agreement was shattered by the immediate unexpected and overwhelming success of the French arms. From his stronghold in the South it would be easy for Charles to make himself master of Rome, of Florence, of all Italy, until he came in sight of the lion of St. Mark. So vast and sudden a superiority was a serious danger. A latent jealousy of Spain underlay the whole expedition. The realm of the Catholic kings was expanding, and an indistinct empire, larger, in reality, than that of Rome, was rising out of the Atlantic. By a very simple calculation of approaching contingencies, Ferdinand might be suspected of designs upon Naples. Now that the helplessness of the Neapolitans had been revealed, it was apparent that he had made a false reckoning when he allowed the French to occupy what he might have taken more easily himself, by crossing the Straits of Messina. Ferdinand joined the Italians of the North in declaring against the invader, and his envoy Fonseca tore up the Treaty of Barcelona before the face of the French king.

Having been crowned in the Cathedral, and having garrisoned his fortresses, Charles set out for France, at the head of a small army. As he came over the Apennines into Lombardy, at Fornovo he was met by a larger force, chiefly provided by Venice, and had to fight his way through. A fortnight after his departure, the Spaniards, under Gonsalvo of Cordova, landed in Calabria, as auxiliaries of the dethroned king. The throne was once more occupied by the fallen family, and Charles retained nothing of his easy and inglorious conquests when he died in 1498.

His successor, Lewis XII, was the Duke of Orleans, who descended from the Visconti, and he at once prepared to enforce his claim on Milan. He allied himself against his rival, Sforza, with Venice, and with Pope Alexander. That he might marry the widowed queen, and preserve her duchy of Brittany for the Crown, he required that his own childless marriage should be annulled. Upon the Legate who brought the necessary documents the grateful king bestowed a principality, a bride of almost royal rank, and an army wherewith to reconquer the lost possessions of the Church in Central Italy. For the Legate was the Cardinal of Valencia, who became thenceforward Duke of Valentinois, and is better known as Caesar Borgia. The rich Lombard plain, the garden of Italy, was conquered as easily as Naples had been in the first expedition. Sforza said to the Venetians: "I have been the dinner; you will be the supper"; and went up into the Alps to look for Swiss levies. At Novara, in 1500, his mercenaries betrayed him and he ended his days in a French prison. On their way home from the scene of their treachery, the Swiss crowned their evil repute by seizing Bellinzona and the valley of the Ticino, which has remained one of their cantons.

Lewis, undisputed master of Milan and Genoa, assured of the Roman and the Venetian alliance, was in a better position than his predecessor to renew the claim on the throne of Naples. But now, behind Frederic of Naples, there was Ferdinand of Aragon and Sicily, who was not likely to allow the king for whom he had fought to be deposed without resistance. Therefore it was a welcome suggestion when Ferdinand proposed that they should combine to expel Frederic and to divide his kingdom. As it was Ferdinand who had just reinstated him, this was an adaptation to the affairs of Christendom of the methods which passed for justice in the treatment of unbelievers, and were applied without scruple by the foremost men of the age, Albuquerque and Cortez. Frederic turned for aid to the Sultan, and this felonious act was put forward as the justification of his aggressors. The Pope sanctioned the Treaty of Partition, and as the Crown of Naples was technically in his gift, he deprived the king on the ground stated by the allies. The exquisite significance of the plea was that the Pope himself had invited Turkish intervention in Italy, and now declared it a cause of forfeiture. In 1501 French and Spaniards occupied their allotted portions, and then quarrelled over the distribution of the spoil. For a time Gonsalvo, "the great Captain," was driven to bay at Barletta on the Adriatic; but at the end of 1503 he won a decisive victory, and the defeated French, under Bayard, withdrew from the Garigliano to the Po. Naples remained a dependency of Spain, for all purposes, in modern history.

In the midst of foreign armies, and of new combinations disturbing the established balance of Italian Powers, the lesser potentates were exposed to destruction; and there were forces about sufficient, under capable guidance, to remodel the chaotic centre of Italy, where no strong government had ever been constituted. Caesar Borgia recognised the opportunity as soon as the French were at Milan; the Pope was growing old and was clay in his terrible hands. His sister just then became Duchess of Ferrara, on the border of the defenceless region which he coveted; and the dominions of the King of France, his patron and ally, extended to the Adda and the Po. Never had such advantages been united in such a man. For Caesar's talents were of the imperial kind. He was fearless of difficulties, of dangers, and of consequences; and having no preference for right or wrong, he weighed with an equal and dispassionate mind whether it was better to spare a man or to cut his throat. As he did not attempt more than he could perform, his rapid success awakened aspirations for a possible future. He was odious to Venice, but a Venetian, who watched his meteoric course, wonders, in his secret diary, whether this unerring schemer was to be the appointed deliverer. He was a terror to Florence, yet the Florentine secretary, to whom he confided his thoughts in certain critical hours, wrote of him as men have written of Napoleon, and erected a monument to his memory that has secretly fascinated half the politicians in the world.

With his double equipment as a lieutenant of the French king and as a condottiere of the Pope, he began by reviving the dormant authority of Rome, where nominal feudatories held vicarious sway. In the place of many despots struggling not for objects of policy, but for their own existence, there appeared a single state, reaching from sea to sea, from the Campagna to the salt-marshes by the delta of the Po, under a papal prince and gonfaloniere, invested with rights and prerogatives to protect the Holy See, and with power to control it. Rome would have become a dependency of the reigning house of Borgia, as it had been of less capable vassals, and the system might have lasted as long as the brain that devised it. Lorenzo de' Medici once said that his buildings were the only works that would outlast him; and it is common in the secular characters of that epoch, unlike the priesthood, not to believe in those things that are abiding, and not to regard organisations that are humble and obscure at first and bloom by slow degrees for the use of another age.

Caesar's enterprise was not determined or limited by the claims of the Vatican. He served both Pope and king, and his French alliance carried farther than the recovery of the Romagna. Florence became tributary by taking him into pay. Bologna bought him off with a heavy ransom. Venice inscribed his name in the illustrious record of its nobility. None could tell where his ambition or his resources would end, how his inventive genius would employ the rivalry of the invaders, what uses he would devise for the Emperor and the Turk. The era of petty tyranny was closed by the apparition of one superior national tyrant, who could be no worse than twenty, for though his crimes would be as theirs, they would not be useless to the nation, but were thoughtfully designed and executed for the sake of power, the accepted object of politics in a country where the right was known by the result. Caesar was not an unpopular master, and his subjects were true to him in his falling fortunes. The death of Alexander and the decline of the French cause in the South cut short his work in the autumn of 1503. Della Rovere, Cardinal Vincula, whose title came from the Church of St. Peter in Chains, the inflexible enemy of the Borgias, was now Julius II; and after a brief interval he was strong enough to drive Caesar out of the country; while the Venetians, entering the Romagna under ill omens for the Republic, occupied the remnant of his many conquests.

Julius had resisted Alexander, as a man unfit for his function, and it soon appeared that this was not a private feud, but a total reversal of ideas and policy. The change was not felt in religious reform or in patronage of learning, but first in the notion of territorial politics. Caesar had rebuilt the duchy of Romagna in the service of the papacy; and it was the essence of the schemes of Julius that it should be secured for the Holy See, together with all else that could be claimed by right, or acquired by policy and war. The Borgias had prevailed by arms, and Julius would not consent to be their inferior and to condemn his whole career. He must draw the sword; but, unlike them, he would draw it in the direct interest of the Church. He had overthrown the conqueror, not that the conquests might be dissolved, or might go to Venice, but in order that he himself and his successors might have power in Italy, and through Italians, over the world. Upon this foundation he instituted the temporal power, as it subsisted for three centuries. The jealous municipal spirit of the Middle Ages had dissolved society into units, and nothing but force could reverse the tradition and weld the fragments into great communities. Borgia had shown that this could be done; but also that no victorious condottiere, were he even his own son, could be trusted by a Pope. Julius undertook to command his army himself, and to fight at the head of his troops. Letting his white beard grow, putting on armour, and proudly riding his war-horse under fire, he exhibited the most picturesque and romantic figure of his time.

The Venetians, commanding the seaboard with their galleys, were not easy to dislodge from the towns they occupied. Essentially a maritime and commercial Power, their centre of gravity lay so far east that it was once proposed to move the capital from the Lagoons to the Bosphorus. When the advancing Turk damaged their trade and threatened their Colonial empire, they took advantage of Italian disintegration to become a continental state, and the general insecurity and oppression of miniature potentates made it a happy fate to be subject to the serene and politic government, whose 3000 ships still held the sea, flying the Christian flag. Renouncing non-intervention on the mainland, they set power above prosperity, and the interest of the State above the welfare and safety of a thousand patrician houses. Wherever there were troubled waters, the fisher was Venice. All down the Eastern coast, and along the Alpine slopes to the passes which were the trade route to Northern Europe, and still farther, at the expense of Milan and Naples, the patriarch of Aquileia and the Duke of Ferrara, the Emperor and the Pope, the Queen of the Adriatic extended her intelligent sway. It was under the long administration of the Doge Foscari, Byron's hero, that it dawned upon the Venetians that it might be their mission to supersede the frail and helpless governments of the Peninsula; and their famous politician and historian, Paruta, believed that it was in their power to do what Rome had done. Their ambition was evident to their neighbours, and those whom they had despoiled, under every plausible pretext, awaited the opportunity of retribution.

Julius, taking counsel with Machiavelli, found it easy to form a league composed of their enemies. As it was not the interest of the empire, France and Spain, to spite Venice by strengthening each other, the Venetians imagined they could safely hold their ground, leaving the dependent cities to make their own terms with the enemy. Padua held out victoriously against Maximilian, but the battle of Agnadello was lost against the French in the same year 1509, in which, fighting under the Crescent in the Indian Ocean, the Venetians were defeated by the Portuguese, and lost their Eastern trade. They soon obtained their revenge. Having gained his ends by employing France against Venice in the League of Cambray, Julius now allied himself with the Venetians to expel the French from Milan. He had recovered the papal possessions, he had broken the Venetian power, and in this his third effort to reconstitute Italy, he still succeeded, because he had the support of the Venetians and the Swiss. The French gave battle to the Spaniards at Ravenna and to the Swiss at Novara, and then they evacuated the Milanese.

Lewis XII swore that he would wreak vengeance on the papacy, and, in conjunction with the Emperor, opened a Council at Pisa, which was attended by a minority of cardinals. Julius met the attack by calling a general Council to meet at the Lateran, which was the first since the great reforming Council, and was still sitting when Julius died in 1513. Like the Council at Pisa, it was regarded at Rome as a move in the great game of Politics, and it made no serious attempt to heal the longstanding and acknowledged wounds of the Church. Its action spread the belief that the reigning diseases were known, but that the remedy was refused, and that reforms that might help religion were not to be expected from Church or State. Julius II died without having expelled the barbarians, as he had promised. The French were gone, but the Spaniards remained unshaken, and were still the pivot of the operations of the Holy See. The investiture of Naples was granted to Ferdinand of Aragon, and the fairest region in Europe bound Spain irrevocably to the Popes.

Although the Italian scheme of Julius was left half-way, his Roman scheme was completed; the intermittent suzerainty of the Middle Ages was straightened out into effective sovereignty over the half of Central Italy, where anarchy used to reign, and the temporal power was fixed on foundations solid enough to bear the coming diminution of spiritual power. The added splendours of modern royalty, round which cardinals of reigning houses—Medici, Este, Famese, Gonzaga—displayed the pomp and ceremony of semi-regal state, in palaces built by Bramante and Michael Angelo, with the ambassadors and protectors of the Powers, and the heads of princely families that had worn the tiara, made Rome the magnetic pole of aristocratic society. As the capital of an absolute monarchy, as others were, it became associated with principles which, in the Middle Ages, it resisted with spiritual and secular weapons; and the magnitude of the change was apparent when Leo X, by the Concordat of Bologna, conceded to Francis I the choice of bishops and the higher patronage of the Church of France. For Francis on his accession sent an army into Italy, the last work of Julius II was overthrown at Marignano, and France again was master of the Milanese.

The final struggle was to come at the vacancy of the Imperial throne. Ferdinand of Aragon was dead, and Naples passed to the King of undivided Spain. It was the unswerving policy of Rome that it should not be united with the Empire, and against that fixed axiom the strongest dynasty of emperors went to pieces. The Reformation had just begun in Germany, and Leo wished one of the Northern Electors to be chosen as Maximilian's successor. In conformity with the political situation, he would have preferred Frederic of Saxony, the protector of Luther. The election of Charles, in 1519, was a defiance of the Balance of Power, a thing not to the taste of the Middle Ages, but becoming familiar in those days. France, unable formerly to keep Naples against Spain, had now to defend Lombardy against Spain, supported by Germany, Naples, and the Netherlands. Francis maintained the unequal struggle for four years, although his most powerful vassal, Bourbon, brought the enemy to the gates of Marseilles. The decisive action of the long Italian war was fought at Pavia in June 1525, where Francis was taken prisoner, and was compelled to purchase his release by cruel sacrifices.

The years that followed are only a phase in the permanent subjugation of Italy, but they are memorable in another connection. For the triumph of Pavia brought the suppression of the Lutherans within the range of practical politics. The Peasants' War had damaged their position; the Emperor was able now to execute the Imperial decree of Worms, and there were some in Germany who desired it. He made it a condition of his prisoner's deliverance that he should assist in destroying them; and Francis readily offered to do it by coming in person, and bearing half the charge. Charles proposed to take him at his word, when he learnt that the Pope was at the head of a great alliance against him. Pope Clement was advised by the best ecclesiastic in his court, the Datario Giberti, to try one more struggle before the chains were riveted, and before he became, as they said, a Spanish chaplain. It is a war, said Giberti, not for power or dominion, but for the redemption of Italy from perpetual bondage; and he placed his master, for the moment, at the head of the nation. Clement concluded a treaty with the Emperor's enemies at Cognac, released Francis from his oath to observe the Treaty of Madrid, and endeavoured to make Pescara, the victor of Pavia, turn traitor by the prospect of the throne of Naples.

In this way Charles was compelled to turn his arms against Rome. He protested that he would risk all his crowns for the sake of revenge, and appealed to Germany, with its Lutherans, for support. Tell them, he wrote, that they are wanted against the Turk. They will know what Turk we mean. They knew it so well that the landsknechts came provided with silken nooses for the necks of cardinals, besides a gold-thread one for the Pope. He issued a detailed manifesto against him, the work of Valdes, one of the rare Lutherans of Spain; and those who were in the secret expected that the shrift would be short. Francis had intended from the first moment to break his word, and to execute no conditions injurious to France, but he came too late. A large body of Germans poured over the Alps and joined the Spaniards in Lombardy. It was observed afterwards that the Spaniards were the most vindictive, but it was the Germans who made the push for Rome; and Bourbon, on the plea of economy, as he could not pay them, led them through the passes of the Apennines, overthrowing the Medici at Florence on the way. Rome was taken almost without resistance, and Clement shut himself up in St. Angelo, while the city was given over to unmerciful pillage, the prelates were held to ransom, and all the secret treasure was got at by torture. That month of May 1527, with its awful experience, was an end to the pride and the hope and the gladness of the pagan revival; a severe and penitential spirit came over society, preparing to meet the Reformation by reform, and to avert change in doctrine by a change in morality. The sack of Rome, said Cardinal Cajetan, was a just judgment on the sufferers. The city was now the Emperor's, by right of conquest, to bestow as he chose, and the Romans were not unwilling that it should be his capital. Some said that the abolition of the temporal power would secure peace among the Powers, whilst others thought that the consequence would be a patriarch in France, if not in England as well. The last effort of the French being spent, and Doria having gone over to the Emperor, taking with him Genoa, the key of French influence, the chain of transactions which began with the Neapolitan expedition of 1494, concluded in 1530 with the siege of Florence. Charles made peace with France at Cambray, and with the Pope at Barcelona, and received the imperial crown at Bologna.

This was the consummation of the Italian wars, by which the main conditions of modern politics were determined. The conflicts which had lasted for a generation, and the disorder and violence which were older still, were at an end; Italy obtained repose from her master, and spent for centuries her intellect in his service. Pescara, Ferrante, Gonzaga, Philibert Emanuel, Spinola, were the men who made Spain the first of military powers. And Parma's invincible legions, which created Belgium, wrested Antwerp from the Dutch, delivered Paris from Henry IV, and watched the signals of the Armada that they might subdue England, were thronged with Italian infantry. Excepting Venice, strong in her navy and her unapproachable lagoon, Spain dominated thenceforward over Italy, and became, by her ascendency in both Sicilies, a bulwark against the Turks.

Italy passed out of general politics, and was a force in Europe only through Rome. The Conclave, and the creation of cardinals to compose the Conclave, made it a constant school of negotiation and intrigue for the best diplomacy in the world. By favour of the Habsburgs, the papacy obtained a fixed dominion, secure against all comers, requiring no military defence, no wasting and profitless expenditure, nothing to dissolve the mirage of an ideal government, under spiritual and converted men. The pontificates became steadily longer, averaging six years in the sixteenth century, eight in the seventeenth, twelve in the eighteenth, sixteen in the nineteenth, and by the original and characteristic institution which is technically known as nepotism, the selection of a Prime Minister, not from the College of the ecclesiastical aristocracy, but from the family of the reigning sovereign, the tonsured statesmen introduced a dynastic infusion into the fluctuations of elective monarchy.

The triumph and coronation of the Emperor Charles V, when he was superior to all that Europe had beheld since Charlemagne, revived the ancient belief in a supreme authority elevated on alliance with the priesthood, at the expense of the independence and the equipoise of nations. The exploits of Magellan and Cortez, upsetting all habits of perspective, called up vain dreams of the coming immensity of Spain, and roused the phantom of universal empire. The motive of domination became a reigning force in Europe; for it was an idea which monarchy would not willingly let fall after it had received a religious and an international consecration. For centuries it was constantly asserted as a claim of necessity and of right. It was the supreme manifestation of the modern state according to the image which Machiavelli had set up, the state that suffers neither limit nor equality, and is bound by no duty to nations or to men, that thrives on destruction, and sanctifies whatever things contributed to increase of power.

This law of the modern world, that power tends to expand indefinitely, and will transcend all barriers, abroad and at home, until met by superior forces, produces the rhythmic movement of History. Neither race, nor religion, nor political theory has been in the same degree an incentive to the perpetuation of universal enmity and national strife. The threatened interests were compelled to unite for the self-government of nations, the toleration of religions, and the rights of men. And it is by the combined efforts of the weak, made under compulsion, to resist the reign of force and constant wrong, that, in the rapid change but slow progress of four hundred years, liberty has been preserved, and secured, and extended, and finally understood.