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Nuces Philosophica, or the Philosophy of things as developed from the Study of the Philosophy of Words.
A Treatise on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. By Daniel Bagot, B.D.
Visitation Sermon preached at Towcester, before Bishop of Peterborough. By Rev. A. J. Ram.
An Historical Sketch of the Protestant Church of France, from its Origin to the Present Time ; with Parallel Notices of the Church of Scotland during the same period. By Rev. J. G. Lorimer.
Elements of Electro-Metallurgy. By Alfred Smee.
History of British Starfishes and other Echinodermata. By E. Forbes. Parts 2 and 3.
A General Outline of the Animal Kingdom. By T. R. Jones. Parts 12 and 13.
History of the French Revolution. By D. W. Jobson. Part 1.
Letter of Expostulation, addressed to Rev. Thomas Spencer, M.A., Perpetual Curate of Hinton Charterhouse. By Sir Culling Eardley Smith, Bart.
The System of Late Hours of Business, and its Moral, Intellectual, and Physical Evils Considered. By the author of Mental Culture.' Second Thousand.
German Literature, By Wolfgang Menzel. Translated by T. Gordon. 4 vols. Lane's Arabian Nights. No. 32. The Scientific and Literary Treasury. By Samuel Maunder.
Important Truths, in Simple Verse; being a Collection of Original Poems on Religious and Miscellaneous Subjects for the use of Young Persons.
The Accidence and Principles of English Grammar. By B. H. Smart. Poems by Lady Flora Hastings. Edited by her Sister. Wesleyan Methodism, Considered in Relation to the Church. By the Rev. R. Hodgson, M.A.
Tha Domestic Management of the Sick Room. By Anthony Todd Thomson, M.D., F.L.S., &c.
The British Government and the Idolatry of Ceylon. By R. Spence Hardy, Wesleyan Missionary.
On a Proposal to Withhold Out-Door Relief from Widows with Families, contained in the last Annual Report of the Poor Law Commissioners for England and Wales. Outlines of Turkish Grammar. By John Reid. The Irish Scholar, or Popery and Protestant Christianity. By T. Aveling. The South Sea Islanders, a Christian Tale. Moraig, or the Seeker for God ; a Poem by John Dunlop, Esq. The Art of Needlework. By the Countess of Wilton.
For MARCH, 1841.
Art. I. The History of England under the House of Stuart, including
the Commonwealth. Published under the Superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. pp. xvi., 934. London: Baldwin and Cradock. 1840.
TT is a curious fact, yet one which can scarcely be controverted, 1 that the vast majority of British sovereigns, from the Saxon Heptarchy down to the accession of the House of Hanover, must be arranged under the two denominations, acknowledging for their prototype either King Log or King Stork! Those princes, however, who gloried in the name of Stuart, and whose lot it was to succeed the Tudors, contrived to combine in their own persons the contrary characteristics of both these mythological exemplars. With regard to all and everything constituting the duties of government, the most rotten stump of a tree that ever putrified in or on the ground exactly represented them : whilst as to the purple and fine linen of sovereignty, the delicacies and sumptuous delights attendant upon a sceptre, the marrow and fatness to be drawn out of the bones of an oppressed people,—as to all these matters, they were perfectly omnivorous. Nevertheless their history comprises just that portion of our annals which, as the able author of the work now before us observes, 'was marked by the appearance of great 'men, by great events, and above all by a protracted struggle in 5 the cause of great principles. The condition of England from • 1603 to 1688, exhibits that point in our progress as a nation,
towards which all the previous changes in English history • converged, and from which the leading events of subsequent
• times have derived thier complexion. If well understood, it • leaves little to be explained in relation either to the past or • the present.' We at once a vow our conviction, that the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge has placed in the hands of the reading public a work replete with that kind of information than which nothing can well be more acceptable. Dr. Vaughan, whose pen with great judgment has been selected for the occasion, seems to have executed his task under every suitable impression of responsibility connected with a candid and Christian historian. His piety and laborious research are never obtruded; but they are felt perceptibly from beginning to end. The style adopted is flowing, simple, perspicuous, and therefore always agreeable. In grouping together any number of events, their connexion is never lost in their variety, nor their variety in their connexion. Order and composure of mind pervade the entire narrative, without any tendency towards either mediocrity or dulness. It should be stated also, in justice to our author, that 'the History of England under the House of • Stuart’is in no way the same book with the ‘Stuart Dynasty.' There is hardly a passage or sentence in the one which is to be found in the other. The best plan, perhaps, to give our readers an idea of what Dr. Vaughan has so successfully performed, will be just to glance at the pictures he has drawn, and the long narrative of more than fourscore years which he has detailed under the six heads of the Manners of the Age,—the Grievances endured and attempted to be redressed,—the Parties into which these nations were divided,—the Civil Contest, including the Commonwealth and Protectorate,—the Restoration,-and the Revolution.
1. As to the manners of the seventeenth century, it should never be forgotten that they were coarse, and yet original. The aristocracy had been subjugated to the crown, without being as yet either sufficiently enervated, or indeed sufficiently numerous, to form a class ubiquitous in its mischievous influences for moulding the middle ranks of society. Neither was there that general intercourse with the continent which might lead large masses of men to do certain things after a certain fashion in England, because they were done in France, Italy, or Germany. The spirit of the age might be somewhat homely, but it was manly and thoughtful, disposed to take liberties with whomsoever and whensoever it pleased, fond of acting out its own ideas, as well as thoroughly attached to strong ale, hot cakes, and sundry other accompaniments. The gentry under James the First, our author justly conceives to have been a healthy portion of the body politic. The court on emerging from the primness and stateliness of an aged maiden queen, rushed precipitately into innumerable excesses, which
soon became more and more aggravated, as the Scotch monarch and his Danish consort gave the reins to indecorum and licentiousness. Even then, there was an under current, deep and
powerful, with which these light and filthy properties had . little connexion.' In other words, whilst the partisans for liberty remained comparatively pure and untainted, at least for a considerable period, royalty, nobility, and courtiers attempted to identify profsigacy with loyalism. London quickly saw reason to wish for Elizabeth back again. St. Giles in the fields still literally answered to its name, being a village, for which, in the third year of the first Stuart, an act of parliament was passed, that together with Drury Lane, it should be rendered decent, and be properly paved! About the same time, the ' distance of a mile, which had separated Westminster from the 'city, began to be covered with respectable houses, instead of ' the thatched and mudwalled dwellings which had hitherto • been strewed over the space since so well known by the name
of the Strand.' Along these and other lines of access, riot and disorder too often prevailed: but they were nothing as a parallel to scenes prevalent at Royston, Theobalds, or other royal palaces. Hunting, gambling, and cock-fighting wasted away the day; until night threw her appropriate veil of darkness over debauchery and dramatic entertainments. The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint. The genius of Ben Jonson lent its utmost aid to render indecency tolerable, if not attractive. Enormous sums were squandered in masks and other theatrical follies. Thousands of pounds would be often expended upon some single revel given on the marriage of a favorite, or merely to indulge the freaks of their majesties. In these courtly spectacles gods and goddesses rose from the
deep or descended from the skies; and passed and repassed ' amid the scenic representation of earth or heaven in pageant grandeur; and in these appearances they sang appropriate songs, or gave utterance to mythological and allegorical compliments. The parts of most show, but requiring the least skill to perform, were sustained by ladies and gentlemen, who
not unfrequently became visible, drawn by dolphins, or mer'maids, or commanding the services of winged dragons.' Puritanism must naturally have looked on with anguish. There was a growing taste for divine doctrines and holy practice amongst large numbers of religionists which the voice of the nation, the force of circumstances, and the noble testimony they bore to the grand principles of truth and liberty, were about to bring forward into first-rate importance. Looking up to their governors, or those calling themselves the higher classes, impiety and impurity, persecution, despotism, and extravagance, encountered them. Sir John Harrington, Osborne, and Dean White, are unanimous in their descriptions. The king too frequently abandoned himself to the most brutal excesses. His natural temperament was cold, and towards the female sex the very reverse of his notorious grandson Charles the Second : but this very fact rendered his abominable profiigacy the more infamous, as being wallowed in amidst less temptation. The queen was a worthless woman, devoted to frivolity and intemperance. The Church of England, bound in golden fetters to the throne, performed the part of a national conscience, by flattering those in power, and denouncing, with bitterest invective, those precisionists who, although members of the Establishment, ceased in spirit to be such, and blew the trumpet of alarm against prevalent ungodliness in high places. Sermons delivered at court came to be fraught with such elements of thunder and lightning as might be manufactured out of the sulphur and brimstone of the bottomless pit : but these bolts were hurled at the heads only of those making any, even the smallest profession of external sanctity, 'whom they seated 'far nearer the confines of hell than papists.' Both patriotism and piety, therefore, witnessed the civil government given up to the unhallowed labor of endeavoring to pollute, oppress, and trample upon three kingdoms demanding, and having a right to demand at its hands, protection and improvement. We dwell a moment on this painful subject, as forming the first count in that fearful bill of indictment which men like Eliot, Pym, Hampden, and Vane, had subsequently to present against the monarchy itself, as disgraced in the persons of the Stuarts.
Doctor White, already quoted, who was no Puritan, acknowledges from a metropolitan pulpit, that drunkenness had become so general, as that the Germans might be said to be losing their charter with regard to this beastly species of indulgence. Ladies of elevated rank, and possessing influence at court, were by no means free from it. Their dress, moreover, and behaviour at revels assimilated far nearer to courtesanship than matronly or virgin propriety. The royal sports of hawking and hunting absorbed both sexes in such conduct, that an eyewitness declares, he thought the beasts pursuing the sober recreation rather than their masters or pursuers. It was the reign of Nimrod more than that of Solomon, to whom the pedantic successor of Elizabeth loved to be compared. Bold riders, daring duellists, money-lenders, gamesters, conjurors, and fortunetellers, remained lords of the ascendant. A young Scotchman, named Hay, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, wormed himself into the good graces of James, entirely through his exploits of conviviality and profuseness. He alone expended not less than £400,000, an immense sum for those days, in furnishing magnificent entertainments, the whole of which he had drawn at