History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

BRITAIN ESTRANGES AMERICA.

CHAPTER I.
ENGLAND AS IT WAS IN 1763.

1763.

OF the wise and happy people of Great Britain the domestic character was marked by moderation, and, like its temperate clime, would sustain no extremes. The island rose before the philosophers as the asylum of independent thought, and upon the nations as the home of revolution whore liberty emanated from discord and sedition. In the atmosphere of England, Voltaire ripened the speculative views which he published as “English Letters;” there Montesquieu sketched a government which should make liberty its end; and from English writings and example Rousseau drew the idea of a social compact. Every Englishman discussed public affairs; busy politicians thronged the coffee-houses; petitions were sent to parliament from popular assemblies; cities, boroughs, and counties framed addresses to the king: and yet such was the stability of the institutions of England amid the factious conflicts of parties, such her loyalty to law even in her change of dynasties, such her self-control while resisting power, such the fixedness of purpose lying beneath the restless enterprise of her intelligence, that the ideas which were preparing radical changes in the social system of other monarchies held their course harmlessly within her borders, as winds playing capriciously round some ancient structure whose massive buttresses tranquilly bear up its roof and towers, and pinnacles, and spires.

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