History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 2

History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 2

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History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 2

History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

THE Stuarts passed from the throne of England. Distinguished by a blind resistance to popular opinion, they were no less distinguished by misfortunes. During their separate sovereignty over Scotland, but three of the race escaped a violent death. The first of them who aspired to the crown of Great Britain was by the order of an English queen sent to death on the scaffold; her grandson was beheaded in the name of the English people. The next in the line, long a needy exile, is remembered chiefly for his vices; and James II. was reduced from royalty to beggary by his own children. Yet America acquired its British colonies during their rule, and towns, rivers, headlands, and even commonwealths bear their names. James I. promoted the settlement of Virginia; a timely neglect fostered New England; the favoritism of Charles I. opened the way for religious liberty in Maryland; Rhode Island long cherished the charter which it won from Charles II.; James II. favored the grants which gave liberties to Pennsylvania and to Delaware; the crimes of the dynasty drove to our country men of learning, virtue, and fortitude. “The wisdom of God,” as John Knox had predicted, “compelled the very malice of Satan, and such as were drowned in sin, to serve to his glory and the profit of his elect.”

Four hundred and seventy-four years after the barons at Runnymede extorted Magna Charta from their legitimate king, the aristocratic revolution of 1688 established for England and its dominions the sovereignty of parliament and the supremacy of law; the security of property and existing franchises; but without impairing the privileges of the nobility.

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