Character of XVIIIth Century -- Rise of New Classes -- Political Effects of Revolution of 1688 -- Effects of Frontier Life on the Colonists -- Difficulties of the Imperial Problem.
FEW centuries have suffered so much from unappreciative interpretation as the eighteenth. It was a period, as Seeley has said, that many seem to think of only as "prosperous, but not as memorable."1 It is true that its gigantic and almost constant struggles were mainly for the markets and raw materials of this world, and were but little influenced, as had been those of the immediately preceding generations, by the problems of the next. Nevertheless, whatever alteration there may have been in the channels through which has flowed the expanding energy of the men of European stock since the fifteenth century, there has been no diminution in that energy itself. Beneath the shifting forms in which it has been clothed at different times, -- art, religion, politics, trade, humanitarianism, -- we can trace the constant stream of discontent, of restlessness and of upward striving. The force abides though its expression alters, and it is hard if not impossible for those of a later time to feel in the same way as their ancestors felt the reality of the connection between the abiding force and a passing mode of its temporal expression. It is by no means unlikely that our own descendants may in time come to take as little living interest in the intricacies of the economic thought and struggles of the nineteenth century as we____________________