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one; for it established the power of the Norman kings, who were most of them usurpers, and all of them despots. Then came the revolution of Runnymede, followed by the innovations of a system of representation of the barons, and the introduction of citizens and burgesses into the government, a revolution vastly more important in its consequences than any reform of their house can possibly be. Then came the deposition of Richard the Second, the violent successive revolutions which constitute the history of the wars of the Roses, and the accession of Henry the Seventh, which, like the empire of Napoleon, was a revolutionary close of a series of political convulsions. Soon after followed the Reformation, which was, at first, an exclusively political change, both in its external and internal effects; then the counterrevolution of the reign of Mary ; still another change of system under Elizabeth, and important variations of church government under James. Then succeeded the revolutionary efforts of Charles, and the more successful though temporary change of the Commonwealth ; then the restoration, then the expulsion of the Stuarts, and the subsequent changes of dynasty; and the perpetual, though gradual, alterations which have constantly taken place since, in the relative power of the different orders of society. If all these revolutions are consistent with permanency of institutions, what constitutes their fluctuation ? And if all of them had been dreaded as evils, and effectually resisted, where would have been our dearest privileges and brightest prospects ? In what corner of the earth would political liberty have found refuge ?
In truth, the British constitution is the result of these revolutionary struggles ; and its true glory is, not in its permanency, for had it been permanent, we should still have been exposed to the divine right of Plantagenets and Tudors, to Star-Chamber courts, ship-money, benevolences, and the long train of annulled prerogative ; but in its capacity for change, in the means it has afforded of adapting itself, from time to time, to new states of society, and in the successive impulses it has received from the noble efforts of the glorious patriots whose characters were formed under its own best influences.
It is worthy of remark, too, that all those changes which have proceeded from, or which have augmented, the influence of the lower orders in England, have not only produced
the most desirable ultimate effects, but have been far more mild and beneficent in their immediate consequences, than those which have proceeded from, or have augmented the influence of, the crown. The introduction of the Commons into the government has produced effects which none will now deny to have been the most desirable ; but had it been possible for human sagacity to have foreseen them, at the time, or for many generations afterwards, they would have been crushed in the bud, overwhelmed with the outcry of dangerous and daring innovation. The expulsion of the Stuarts was a popular revolution, and it is difficult to imagine one of a more mild and moderate character. Even the triumph of the republican party in the time of the Commonwealth, although a change entirely premature, and brought about by a civil war, was marked by less violence than the proceedings of the other party, and by much less than it can be thought the royalists would have exercised, had they been successful. On the other hand, we may see very fair specimens of the effects of unchecked power, in the grinding extortion of Henry the Seventh, and the capricious, the insane cruelty of his son. So much is sometimes said of the ferocity of an excited mob, that it seems to be forgotten that a despot can be cruel too. And we have, perhaps, been more than reasonably impressed with the fear of popular excesses, from one frightful example on the continent of Europe. It should be recollected that the system of oppression which was then overthrown was also tremendous; and that nothing has contributed so much to save England from a similar
abomination of desolation, as the partial changes and meliorations of government which have so frequently taken place in her history. The recurrence of these alterations renders her history doubly instructive. We see the motives of all parties, and the effects, both expected and unexpected, of their actions; and perhaps as much may be learned from the efforts of one side to increase, as from those of the other to diminish, the weight of power.
It requires, however, no little wisdom to derive all the advantage from this study which it is capable of affording; and we are highly gratified to be assisted in our researches by the profound knowledge and uncommon sagacity of Sir James Mackintosh. We have read the two volumes of his history, which have been published by Dr. Lardner, and
which come down to the reign of Elizabeth, with high pleasure, and, we hope, with some improvement. He is full of the philosophical spirit, the penetration, and the enlarged views, which are requisite for every historical writer, and is deeply imbued with that just attachment to rational freedom, which is especially becoming in a British historian. His style is not always so easy and perspicuous as could be wished ; yet there are many passages which cannot be surpassed, as well for beanty of language, as for truth, brilliancy, and profoundness of thought. He is the writer, it seems to us, who has best understood the true light in which English history is to be regarded, and has treated it in the most judicious and useful manner. The moral tone too of the work is as pure and elevated as the character of the author.
We had intended to make several extracts; but the passages we should wish to quote are too numerous for our limits, and we must content ourselves with recommending the perusal of the whole work to those who feel an interest in the subject, or who wish to learn what it is most desirable to know in the history of their ancestors.
We shall look forward with eager expectation for the remainder of the work, which will contain an invaluable treasure of political wisdom, if executed, as it doubtless will be, in the same masterly manner as the beginning.
We wish it could be brought down to the present time; for at the moment in which we are writing, one of those modifications of the English government is taking place, if indeed it be not already completed, which is destined to have a great and durable effect upon its character. Whether it is to be for good or for evil, it may be presumptuous to pronounce; yet, if there be any truth in the remarks we have made, there is great reason to hope that, amidst all the changes which are to ensue, the true principles of just liberty will be predominant. The length and violence of the struggle which is to take place depend entirely on the wisdom of the parties; but there can hardly exist a doubt as to the side to which victory will ultimately incline. It is plain to to those who can discern the spirit of the age, that the time has come when some of the gross abuses, which have been tolerated till men begin to claim them as vested rights, can no longer be borne by an intelligent, spirited, and wealthy people. Nothing but the wonderful events of the French revolution, and the all-engrossing strife of the following years, has prevented the claim of reform from being urged long ago ; and now that men's niinds are fixed upon the object, there cannot be a doubt that they will attain it. True, they are claiming the exercise of rights they have never enjoyed; but which have, nevertheless, always existed. True, the influence of the crown and the aristocracy has been felt in popular electiors from the very first; but it is no less true that this influence is, and always has been, an abuse. And can an abuse be so consecrated by time as to lose its character, and become a right? Can a perversion of an object become in time its legitimate purpose? If the true design of the house of Commons be to express the wants, and to represent the interests, of the class to which they belong, can it ever be just that their interests should be kept out of view and their wishes thwarted by those of other classes ? But argument is useless. There is but one man in the kingdom bold enough to avow an opinion that no reforın is necessary, Some change, it is conceded by all, must be made. The only question is, whether that change shall be an essential one, or whether the vested rights in purchased seats and boroughs shall be in some measure respected ; in other words, whether a large portion of those who call themselves the representatives of the Commons shall be what they profess to be, or whether they shall really represent a very different class. It is a question of expediency how far this reform should be carried; and we have no doubt as to the expediency of going the whole length of justice; of taking one great step, for which the people are now prepared, towards that enjoyment of equal political' rights, which, in our view, is essentially necessary to a good form of government. What ultimate consequences may follow we do not undertake to predict; but if the measure be executed with the same moderation with which it has been begun, with the same enlightened views, and energetic wisdom, it can but serve to increase the glorious distinction of Great Britain, her freedom, her power, her wealth, and social happiness. It is certainly possible that a civil convulsion may be the first result of this step; though we hope better things of the small minority who are opposed to it; but if it were, we feel that the advancement of political freedom is worth a struggle. Liberty has always repaid its cost with interest. The blood of its mar
tyrs has always been prolific of good ; their lives have been glorious, and their memories cherished. They who are now associating their names with those of their most illustrious predecessors, instead of deserving the reproach, so frequently thrown upon them, of urging on a revolution, are only endeavouring still farther to develope that quality in the constitution, which forms its distinguishing excellence. Other countries in Europe have had their monarchs, and their aristocracies, and their permanent institutions, but where else has the power of the Commons been felt? Where else has there been an ascending influence from the lower orders to purify and invigorate the higher? Where else has the system of the government expanded itself to meet the wants of the age without terrific convulsion? Where else has the voice of the people ever been heard in remonstrance, petition, or law; or in any thing but the whirlwind of an ungovernable commotion ? It cannot be too often repeated, that it is the energy of the Commons, partially exhibited as it has been even in her institutions, which has raised Great Britain to her exalted rank among the nations. It is the only thing which distinguishes her history from that of other monarchies, and we cannot persuade ourselves to fear the consequences of its farther developement. We must unlearn all that we have been taught by the history of our mother country, and by our own experience in this fortunate republic, before we can dread either the growth or the firm establishment of the power of an enlightened, educated, wealthy, and prosperous class, even though that class be called the lower order of society. By the elevation of that, all other ranks are proportionally raised.
ART. VII. — Henry Pestalozzi, and his Plan of Educa
tion; being an Account of his Life and Writings, with copious Extracts from his Works, and extensive Details illustrative of the Practical Parts of his Method. By E. BIBER, Ph. Dr. London. 1831.
The author of the work before us is a warm admirer of Pestalozzi and his system of education ; but his judgment is apparently unbiassed by the premature enthusiasm which is
- N. S. VOL. VI. NO. III.