The History of English Patriotism - Vol. 1

The History of English Patriotism - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

The History of English Patriotism - Vol. 1

The History of English Patriotism - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Patriotism, like beauty and goodness, is one of those things that we can never rigidly define, because though every one has some rough notion of its meaning, we doubt if any one has ever yet grasped its full meaning. We may, provisionally, describe it as the love that a man bears for his country, but this is to fly from one difficulty into two, for love is as infinite as God, and as for country, it is not always easy to tell the point at which patriotism begins and treason ends. We may not deny the title of patriot to men so various as Shakespeare and Addison, Cromwell and Nelson, Chatham and Castlereagh. But what shall we say of less obvious cases, of Walpole, of Charles James Fox, of John Bright? Can an Englishman be a patriot who prays for the defeat of our arms, like the youthful Lake Poets; or when he is receiving the pay of the foreigner, like Algernon Sidney; or when he is ready to back his domestic policy by foreign invasion, like the leaders of our Whig Revolution? These are cases of infinite delicacy, and not to be compassed by any definition.

But to speak of patriotism as the love of a man for his country, has at least the advantage of separating it into its two main elements of an emotion, the purest of which our nature is capable, and its object, which next to God . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.