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Liberals in 1858. The two ecclesiastical measures which excited most discussion under Anne were the Occasional Conformity Act, which was intended to break the political power of the Dissenters by increasing the stringency of the Test Act, and the Schism Act, which was intended to prevent them from educating their children in their faith. Both of them were Tory measures; both of them became law in a period of Tory ascendancy; both of them were repealed at the triumph of the Whigs. A very analogous conflict raged in the present century around the Test Act and around the restrictions that excluded the Dissenters from the Universities. Like their predecessors in the eighteenth century, the modern Whigs were the steady advocates of the Dissenters. Like their predecessors in the eighteenth century, the Tories contended vehemently for restrictions which they believed to be useful to the Church. In no respect were the Tory Governments in the days of Pitt and Castlereagh more remarkably distinguished from their Whig successors than by their extreme jealousy of the Press, their desire to limit its influence, and the severity with which they punished its excesses. But precisely the same contrast between the parties existed in the earlier phases of their history. The Whig Government that followed the Revolution established the liberty of the Press. The first of the series of taxes on knowledge which the modern Liberals, after a long struggle against Tory opposition, succeeded in abolishing were the stamp upon paper and the duty upon advertisements, which were imposed by the Tory ministry of Anne. The same ministry was prominent in the eighteenth century for the frequency and bitterness of its Press prosecutions, while the long Whig ministry of Walpole was in no respect more remarkable than for its uniform. tolerance of the most virulent criticism.

In the face of these facts it is not, I think, too much to say that the notion of the two parties having exchanged their principles is altogether fallacious, and the force of the instances. that have been alleged will, on examination, be much weakened, if not wholly dispelled. The attitude of parties towards

European wars is so slightly and remotely connected with their political principles that the fact of a party having opposed a war in one century and supported a war in another can hardly be regarded as a reasonable presumption of apostacy. The free trade policy which the Tories upheld in the reign of Anne has never been distinctively Whig, and in promoting its triumph the party which counts Hume and Tucker among its writers, and Pitt and Huskisson among its statesmen, deserves a credit at least equal to its opponents. The attacks which the Whigs directed in 1713 against the free trade clauses of the Tory commercial treaty with France, were scarcely more vehement than those which Fox and Grey directed on the same ground against the commercial treaty negotiated by Pitt in 1786. It is true that the Whigs in the seventeenth, and in the first half of the eighteenth, century, were more actively antiCatholic in their policy than the Tories, and that they are responsible for the most atrocious of the penal laws against Catholicism; but the obvious explanation is to be found in the fact that the Whigs were struggling for a Protestant succession, while the legitimate line adhered to Catholicism. Apart from this, the Tories had little or no sympathy with the Catholics. If the Dissenters were more strongly antipapal than the clergy of the Established Church, the commercial classes were certainly more tolerant than the country gentry. The Tory Government under Anne did nothing for the Catholics; it even issued a proclamation in 1711 for putting the laws against them into force, and it is a remarkable fact that the only minister in the first quarter of the 18th century who showed any real disposition to relieve them of their disabilities was the Whig Stanhope. The Bill substituting septennial for triennial parliaments was, it is true, a Whig measure, and it is also true that the Tories in the early Hanoverian period were, in conjunction with a large body of discontented Whigs, energetic parliamentary reformers, advocating triennial or even annual parliaments, and inveighing bitterly against pensions and places. But in this there is nothing perplexing. The Whigs carried the

Septennial Act because they believed that a dissolution immediately after the accession of George I. and the rebellion of 1715 would be of the utmost danger to the dynasty which it was their great object to defend. They maintained the Septennial Act mainly because they were in power, and desired, like all administrations, to avoid any unnecessary shock that would endanger their stability. That short parliaments are not naturally Tory, or long parliaments naturally Whig, is abundantly shown by the earlier history of the Triennial Bill, which, having been first carried by the revolutionary Long Parliament in 1641, was repealed in the Tory reaction of the Restoration, and re-enacted in 1694, after a struggle that lasted for several years, during which the Whigs had generally supported and the Tories had usually opposed it. The Whigs, when in office under Walpole, maintained and multiplied places and pensions because they were at their disposal, and were powerful instruments in maintaining their majority. The Tories acted in the same manner when they regained power under George III. If, at a time when they were in almost hopeless opposition, they took a different course, they were merely adopting the ordinary tactics of an Opposition.

The great triumph of Whig principles that was achieved at the Revolution was much less due to any general social, or intellectual development than to the follies of a single sovereign, and the abilities of a small group of statesmen. For a long time, indeed, the tendency of events had been in the opposite direction. In the earlier periods of English history, perhaps the most important element of English liberty lay in the great multitude of independent yeomen or small landed proprietors. In the reign of Henry VI. Fortescue had declared that in no other country in Europe were they so numerous as in England, and he attributed to this fact a very large part of the wellbeing of the nation. For many generations, however, this class had been steadily declining. The relaxation of the feudal

Fortescue De Laudibus Legum Angliæ, cap. xxix.

system enabled proprietors to alienate their land; the increase of wealth had the inevitable result of accumulating landed properties; the great extension of the woollen trade, combined with the high rate of agricultural wages under Henry VII., made it the interest of landlords to turn arable land into pasture; the sudden alteration in the value of money resulting from the gold discoveries in America, and the violent changes in the distribution of wealth produced by the confiscation of Church property aggravated the tendency; and in the latter Tudor reigns there were bitter complaints that the small proprietors were being rapidly absorbed, that tenants were being everywhere turned adrift, and that great tracts which had once been inhabited by a flourishing yeomanry were being converted into sheepwalks. More, Roger Ascham, Harrison, Latimer, Strafford, and Bacon bear abundant testimony to the magnitude of the evil. A long series of attempts was made to check it by laws placing obstacles in the way of new enclosures, prohibiting the pulling down of farm-houses to which twenty acres of arable land were attached, restraining the number of sheep in a flock, and even regulating the number of acres under tillage; but this legislation, which had been warmly eulogised, and in part originated, by Bacon, was probably imperfectly executed and was certainly insufficient to arrest the tendency. The yeomanry formed the chief political counterpoise to the country gentry. In the Civil War they were conspicuous on the side of the Parliament, and even after the Restoration it was estimated that there were more than 160,000 small landed proprietors in England. Every year, however, their number diminished. If they continued in the country districts, they sank into peasants, or rose into country gentry, and in the first case they lost all political power while in the second case they usually passed into the Tory ranks. The towns, and the commercial classes

1 See Eden's Hist. of the Working Classes, vol. i. 73, 115; Macaulay's Hist. chap. iii.; Fischel On the Con譬 itution, 315-316, and the admirable chap. on the History of the English

Peasantry in Mr. Thornton's Overpopulation. Bacon has dwelt strongly on the evil in his History of Henry VII., and in his essay On the True Greatness of Kingdoms.

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who inhabited them, had, no doubt, rapidly increased under the Stuarts, but they had hardly made a corresponding advance in political importance. The guilds which gave the commercial classes a large amount of political concentration, had disappeared. The modern inventions that have given manufacturing industry an unparalleled extension had not yet arisen, and by a recent and skilful innovation the political power of the commercial classes had been fatally impaired. Under Charles II. the corporations most hostile to the Crown had been accused of petty irregularities and misdemeanours. Sentences of forfeiture had been pronounced against them; new charters were granted, framed in such a manner that the members were necessarily subject to the approval of the Crown, and by this process almost the whole borough representation throughout England had been reduced to a condition of complete subserviency. The judicial bench has more than once proved the most formidable bulwark against the encroachments of despotism, but in England the judges were removable at pleasure, and had become the mere creatures of the Crown. In no age, and in no country have State trials been conducted with a more flagrant disregard for justice and for decency, and with a more scandalous subserviency to the Crown, than in England under Charles II., and eleven out of the twelve judges gave their sanction to the claim of his successor to dispense with the laws.

Nor was the balance of intellectual influences more favourable to freedom. There existed, it is true, a small body of able men who adopted the principles of Sidney or of Locke, and who often carried them almost or altogether to the verge of republicanism; but the universities, which were the very centres of intellectual life, were thoroughly Tory. Hobbes, who was the most influential freethinker of the Restoration, advocated a system of the most crushing despotism, and the ecclesiastical influences which exercised an overwhelming influence over the great mass of the English people were eminently inimical to freedom. In the old Catholic times an Archbishop of Canterbury had combined

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