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CHAPTER II: Cursory View of the History of England. - Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.) 
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, newly revised translation of the 1818 English edition, edited, with an introduction and notes by Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Cursory View of the History of England.
It is painful to me to represent the English character in a disadvantageous light, even in past times. But this generous nation will listen without pain to all that reminds it that it is to its actual political institutions, to those institutions which it is in the power of other nations to imitate, that it owes its virtues and its splendor. The puerile vanity of believing themselves a separate race is certainly not worth, in the eyes of the English, the honor of encouraging mankind by their example. No people in Europe can be put on a parallel with the English since 1688; there are a hundred and twenty years of social improvement between them and the Continent. True liberty, established for more than a century among a great people, has produced the results which we witness; but in the preceding history of this people, there is more violence, more illegality, and, in some respects, a still greater spirit of servitude than among the French.
The English always quote Magna Charta as the most honorable title of their ancient genealogy as free men; and in truth, such a contract between a nation and its king is an admirable thing. So early as the year 1215, personal liberty and the trial by jury are declared there in terms which might be used in our days. At this same period of the middle age there was, as we have mentioned in the Introduction, a movement of liberty throughout Europe. But knowledge and the institutions created by knowledge, not being yet diffused, there resulted nothing stable from this movement in England until 1688, that is, almost five centuries after Magna Charta. During all this period the charter was subject to incessant infractions. The successor of him who had signed it (Henry III, the son of John) made war on his barons to release himself from the promises of his father.1 The barons had on this occasion favored the Third Estate, that they might find support in the people against the authority of the king. Edward I, the successor of Henry III, swore eleven times to maintain the great charter, which proves that he violated it even more often than that. Neither kings nor nations observe political oaths, except when the nature of things is such as to command sovereigns and satisfy the people. William the Conqueror had dethroned Harold; the House of Lancaster, in its turn, overset Richard II, and the act of election which called Henry IV to the throne was sufficiently liberal to be afterward imitated by Lord Somers in 1688. On the accession of Henry IV, in 1399, attempts were made to renew the great charter, and the King at last promised to respect the franchises and liberty of the nation. But the nation did not then know how to make herself respected. The war with France,2 the intestine wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster3 gave rise to the bloodiest scenes, and no history exhibits so many violations of individual liberty, so many executions, so many conspiracies of every kind. The result was that in the time of the famous Warwick,4 the “king-maker,” a law was passed enjoining obedience to the actual sovereign, whether rightfully so or not, in order to avoid the arbitrary judicial condemnations to which changes in government necessarily gave rise.
Next came the House of Tudor, which, in the person of Henry VII, united the rights of York and Lancaster.5 The nation was weary of civil war: the spirit of servitude succeeded, for a time, the spirit of faction. Henry VII, like Louis XI and Cardinal Richelieu, subjected the nobility and found means to establish the most complete despotism. Parliament, which has since been the sanctuary of liberty, served at that time only to sanction the most arbitrary acts by a false appearance of national consent; for there is not a better instrument of tyranny than an assembly when it is degraded. Flattery conceals itself under the appearance of general opinion, and fear, felt in common, almost resembles courage; so much do men animate each other in an enthusiasm for power. Henry VIII6 was still more despotic than his father, and more lawless in his desires. The Reformation, as far as he adopted it, served him surprisingly to persecute both orthodox Catholics and sincere Protestants. He made the English Parliament commit the most humiliating acts of servitude. It was the Parliament which took charge of the processes brought against the innocent wives of Henry VIII. It was it which solicited the honor of condemning Catherine Howard,7 declaring there was no need of the royal sanction to bring a bill of impeachment against her, that they might save the King (her husband), as they said, the pain of trying her. Thomas More,8 one of the most noble victims of the tyranny of Henry VIII, was accused by Parliament, as well as all those whose death the King desired. The two houses pronounced it a crime of high treason not to regard the King’s marriage with Anne of Clèves as legally dissolved; and Parliament, stripping itself of power, decreed that the King’s proclamations should have the force of law, and that they should be considered as having even the authority of revelation in matters of faith; for Henry VIII had made himself the head of the church in England, even while preserving the Catholic doctrine. It was then necessary to shake off the supremacy of Rome without exposing himself to the charge of dogmatic heresy. It was at this time that the bloody law of the Six Articles9 was passed, a law which established the points of doctrine to which it was necessary to conform: the real presence; the communion in one element; the inviolability of monastic vows (notwithstanding the abolition of convents); the utility of private mass; the celibacy of the clergy; and the necessity of auricular confession. Whoever did not admit the first point was burned as a heretic; and he who rejected the five others was put to death as a felon. Parliament thanked the King for the divine study, for the labor and the pains which His Majesty had bestowed on the composition of this law.
Yet Henry VIII opened the path to the religious reformation. It was introduced into England by his guilty amours, as Magna Charta had owed its existence to the crimes of John Lackland. It is thus that ages advance, proceeding unconsciously toward the object of human destiny.
Parliament, under Henry VIII, did violence to the conscience as well as to the person. It ordered, under pain of death, that the King should be considered the head of the church; and all who refused to acknowledge this perished martyrs to their courage. Parliaments changed the religion of England four times. They consecrated the schism of Henry VIII and the Protestantism of Edward VI; and when Queen Mary10 caused old men, women, and children to be cast into the flames, hoping thus to please her fanatic husband, even these atrocities were sanctioned by a Parliament lately Protestant.
The Reformation reappeared with Elizabeth,11 but the spirit of the people and of Parliament was not the less servile. That queen had all the grandeur which despotism conducted with moderation can confer. The reign of Elizabeth in England may be compared to that of Louis XIV in France.
Elizabeth had more capacity than Louis XIV, and finding herself at the head of Protestantism, the principle of which is toleration, she could not, like the French monarch, join fanaticism to absolute power. Parliament, which had compared Henry VIII to Samson for strength, to Solomon for prudence, and to Absalom for beauty, sent its speaker to declare, on his knees, to Queen Elizabeth that she was a divinity. But not confining itself to these insipid servilities, it stained itself with a sanguinary flattery in seconding the criminal hatred of Elizabeth against Mary Stuart,12 calling for the condemnation of her enemy and wishing thus to remove from the Queen the shame of a measure which she desired; but it only dishonored itself in her train.
The first king of the House of Stuart,13 equally weak but more regular in his morals than the successor of Louis XIV, professed constantly the doctrine of absolute power, without having in his character the means of supporting it. Information was spreading in all directions. The impulse given to the human mind at the beginning of the sixteenth century was diffusing itself more and more; religious reform fermented in every mind. At last burst out the revolution under Charles I.14
The principal points of analogy between the revolutions of England and France15 are: a king brought to the scaffold by the spirit of democracy, a military chief getting possession of power, and the restoration of the old dynasty. Although religious and political reform have many things in common, yet when the principle that puts men in movement is somehow connected with what they deem their duty, they preserve more morality than when their impulse has no other motive than a desire of recovering their rights. The passion for equality was, however, so great in England that the King’s daughter, the Princess of Gloucester, was put apprentice to a mantua-maker. Several traits of this kind equally strange might be quoted, although the management of public affairs during the revolution of England did not descend into such coarse hands as in France. The commoners, having earlier acquired importance by trade, were more enlightened. The nobility who had at all times joined these commoners against the usurpations of the throne did not form a separate caste as among the French.16 The blending of occupations, which does not prevent the distinction of ranks, had existed for a length of time. In England the nobility of the second class was joined to the commoners.* The families of peers alone were apart, while in France one knew not where to find the nation, and everyone was impatient to get out of the mass that he might enter into the privileged class. Without entering on religious discussions, it cannot be denied that the opinions of the Protestants, being founded on inquiry, are more favorable to knowledge and to the spirit of liberty than the Catholic religion, which decides everything by authority and considers kings equally infallible with popes, unless popes happen to be at war with kings. Lastly, and it is here that we must admit the advantages of an insular position, Cromwell conceived no projects of conquest on the Continent; he excited no anger on the part of kings who did not consider themselves threatened by the political experiments of a country that had no immediate communication with Continental ground. Still less did the nations take part in the quarrel; and the English had the remarkable good fortune of neither provoking foreigners nor calling in their aid.
The English rightly say that in their last civil troubles they had nothing that bore a resemblance to the eighteen months of the Reign of Terror in France. But in viewing the whole of their history, we shall find three kings deposed and put to death, Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI; one king assassinated, Edward V; Mary of Scotland and Charles I perishing on the scaffold; princes of the blood royal dying a violent death; judicial assassinations in greater number than in all the rest of Europe together; along with I know not what of harsh and factious, which hardly indicated the public and private virtues of which England has afforded an example for the past century. Doubtless, it would be impossible to keep an open account of the vices and virtues of both nations; but in studying the history of England, we do not begin to see the English character, such as it rises progressively to our eyes since the foundation of liberty, except in a few men at the time of the Revolution and under the Restoration. The era of the return of the Stuarts, and the changes accomplished on their expulsion, again offer new proofs of the all-powerful influence of political institutions on the character of nations. Charles II and James II reigned, the one in an arbitrary, the other in a tyrannical manner;17 and the same acts of injustice which had sullied the history of England in earlier ages were renewed at a period when knowledge had made however a very great progress. But despotism produces in every country, and in every time, nearly the same results; it brings back darkness in the midst of day. The most noble friends of liberty, Russell and Sidney,18 perished under the reign of Charles II; and a number of other persons of less celebrity were in like manner unjustly condemned to death. Russell refused to redeem his life on condition of acknowledging that resistance to the sovereign, however despotic he may be, is contrary to the Christian religion. Algernon Sidney said, on mounting the scaffold, “I come here to die for the good old cause, which I have cherished since my infancy.” The day after his death there were found writers who attempted to ridicule these beautiful and simple words. Flattery of the basest kind, that which surrenders the rights of nations to the good pleasure of sovereigns, was exhibited in all quarters. The University of Oxford condemned all the principles of liberty and showed itself a thousand times less enlightened in the seventeenth century than the barons in the beginning of the thirteenth. It proclaimed that there existed no mutual contract, either express or implied, between nations and their kings. It was a town destined to be a center of learning that sent forth this declaration, which placed a man above all laws, divine and human, without imposing on him either duties or restraints. Locke, then a young man, was expelled from the university for having refused his adherence to this servile doctrine; so true it is that men of reflection, whatever be the object of their occupation, are always agreed in regard to the dignity of human nature.
Parliament, although very obsequious, was still an object of dread; and Louis XIV feeling, with remarkable sagacity, that a free constitution would give great strength to England, bribed not only the ministry but the King himself to prevent the establishment of such a constitution. It was not, however, from the dread of example that he wished to see no liberty in England. France was at that time too remote from any spirit of resistance to give him the least disquietude; it was solely, and the diplomatic documents prove it, because he considered a representative government as a source of wealth and power to the English. He caused 200,000 livres to be offered to Charles II if he would become a convert to the Catholic faith and convoke no more parliaments. Charles II, and after him James II, accepted these subsidies without venturing to adhere to all the conditions. The prime ministers, the wives of these prime ministers, received presents from the ambassador of France on promising to render England submissive to the influence of Louis XIV. Charles II would have desired, it is said in the negotiations published by Dalrymple,19 to bring over French troops into England that they might be employed against the friends of liberty. We cannot easily persuade ourselves of the truth of these facts when we know the England of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There were still remains of a spirit of independence among some members of Parliament; but as the liberty of the press did not support them in the public opinion, they could not oppose the strength of that opinion to the strength of government. The law of Habeas Corpus,20 on which individual liberty is founded, was passed under Charles II, and yet there never were more violations of that liberty than under his reign, for laws without security are of no avail. Charles II made the towns surrender to him all their privileges, all their particular charters; nothing is so easy to a central authority as to overthrow each separate part in succession. The judges, to please the King, gave to the crime of high treason a greater extension than what had been fixed three centuries before, under the reign of Edward III. To this serious tyranny was joined as much corruption, as much frivolity, as Frenchmen can be reproached with at any period. The English writers, the English poets, who are now animated by the truest sentiments and the purest virtues, were under Charles II coxcombs, sometimes sad, but always immoral. Rochester, Wycherley, above all, Congreve21 drew pictures of human life which appear parodies of hell. In some of these pictures the sons jest on the old age of their fathers; in others, the younger brothers long for the death of their eldest brother; marriage is there treated according to the maxims of Beaumarchais; but there is no gaiety in these saturnalia of vice; the most corrupt men cannot laugh at the sight of a world in which even the wicked could not make their way. Fashion, which is still the weakness of the English in small matters, trifled at that time with whatever was most important in life. Charles II had over his court, and his court had over his people, the influence which the regent had over France.22 And when we see in English galleries the portraits of the mistresses of this King, arranged methodically together, we cannot persuade ourselves that little more than a century has yet passed since so depraved a frivolity seconded the most absolute power among Englishmen. Finally, James II, who made an open declaration of the opinions which Charles II introduced by underhand practices, reigned during three years with a tyranny happily without moderation, since it was to his very excesses that the nation was indebted for the peaceful and wise revolution on which its liberty was founded. Hume, the historian, a Scotsman, a partisan of the Stuarts, and a defender of royal prerogative in the way in which an enlightened man can be so, has rather softened than exaggerated the crimes committed by the agents of James II. I insert here only a few of the traits of this reign in the way they are related by Hume.23
Such arbitrary principles had the court instilled into all its servants that Feversham, immediately after the victory,24 hanged above twenty prisoners; and was proceeding in his executions when the Bishop of Bath and Wells warned him that these unhappy men were now by law entitled to a trial, and that their execution would be deemed a real murder. This remonstrance, however, did not stop the savage nature of Colonel Kirke, a soldier of fortune who had long served at Tangiers and had contracted, from his intercourse with the Moors, an inhumanity less known in European and in free countries. At his first entry into Bridgewater, he hanged nineteen prisoners without the least inquiry into the merits of their cause. As if to make sport with death, he ordered a certain number to be executed while he and his company should drink the King’s health, or the Queen’s, or that of Chief Justice Jefferies.25 Observing their feet to quiver in the agonies of death, he cried that he would give them music to their dancing, and he immediately commanded the drums to beat and the trumpets to sound. By way of experiment, he ordered one man to be hung up three times, questioning him at each interval whether he repented of his crime: but the man obstinately asserting that, notwithstanding the past, he still would willingly engage in the same cause, Kirke ordered him to be hung in chains. One story commonly told of him is memorable for the treachery, as well as barbarity, which attended it. A young maid pleaded for the life of her brother and flung herself at Kirke’s feet, armed with all the charms which beauty and innocence, bathed in tears, could bestow upon her. The tyrant was inflamed with desire, not softened into love or clemency. He promised to grant her request, provided that she, in her turn, would be equally compliant to him. The maid yielded to the conditions: but after she had passed the night with him, the wanton savage the next morning showed her, from the window, her brother, the darling object for whom she had sacrificed her virtue, hanging on a gibbet, which he had secretly ordered to be there erected for the execution. Rage and despair and indignation took possession of her mind and deprived her forever of her senses. All the inhabitants of that country, innocent as well as guilty, were exposed to the ravages of this barbarian. The soldiery were let loose to live at free quarters; and his own regiment, instructed by his example and encouraged by his exhortations, distinguished themselves in a particular manner by their outrages. By way of pleasantry he used to call them his lambs; an appellation which was long remembered with horror in the west of England.
The violent Jefferies succeeded after some interval; and showed the people that the rigors of law might equal, if not exceed, the ravages of military tyranny. This man, who wantoned in cruelty, had already given a specimen of his character in many trials where he presided; and he now set out with a savage joy, as to a full harvest of death and destruction. He began at Dorchester; and thirty rebels being arraigned, he exhorted them, but in vain, to save him, by their free confession, the trouble of trying them. And when twenty-nine were found guilty, he ordered them, as an additional punishment of their disobedience, to be led to immediate execution. Most of the other prisoners, terrified with this example, pleaded guilty; and no less than two hundred and ninety-two received sentence at Dorchester. Of these, eighty were executed. Exeter was the next stage of his cruelty; two hundred and forty-three were there tried, of whom a great number were condemned and executed. He also opened his commission at Taunton and Wells; and everywhere carried consternation along with him. The juries were so struck with his menaces that they gave their verdict with precipitation; and many innocent persons, it is said, were involved with the guilty. And on the whole, besides those who were butchered by the military commanders, two hundred and fifty-one are computed to have fallen by the hand of justice. The whole country was strewed with the heads and limbs of traitors. Every village, almost, beheld the dead carcass of a wretched inhabitant. And all the rigors of justice, unabated by any appearance of clemency, were fully displayed to the people by the inhuman Jefferies.
Of all the executions during this dismal period, the most remarkable were those of Mrs. Gaunt and Lady Lisle, who had been accused of harboring traitors. Mrs. Gaunt was an anabaptist noted for her beneficence, which she extended to persons of all professions and persuasions. One of the rebels, knowing her humane disposition, had recourse to her in his distress and was concealed by her. Hearing of the proclamation which offered an indemnity and rewards to such as discovered criminals, he betrayed his benefactress and bore evidence against her. He received a pardon as a recompense for his treachery; she was burned alive for her charity.
Lady Lisle was widow of one of the regicides who had enjoyed great favor and authority under Cromwell, and who having fled after the Restoration to Lauzanne in Swisserland, was there assassinated by three Irish ruffians, who hoped to make their fortune by this piece of service. His widow was now prosecuted for harboring two rebels the day after the battle of Sedgemoor; and Jefferies pushed on the trial with an unrelenting violence. In vain did the aged prisoner plead that these criminals had been put into no proclamation; had been convicted by no verdict; nor could any man be denominated a traitor till the sentence of some legal court was passed upon him; that it appeared not by any proof that she was so much as acquainted with the guilt of the persons, or had heard of their joining the rebellion of Monmouth; that though she might be obnoxious on account of her family, it was well known that her heart was ever loyal, and that no person in England had shed more tears for that tragical event in which her husband had unfortunately borne too great a share; and that the same principles which she herself had ever embraced she had carefully instilled into her son, and had, at that very time, sent him to fight against those rebels whom she was now accused of harboring. Though these arguments did not move Jefferies, they had influence on the jury. Twice they seemed inclined to bring in a favorable verdict; they were as often sent back with menaces and reproaches; and at last were constrained to give sentence against the prisoner. Notwithstanding all applications for pardon, the cruel sentence was executed. The King said that he had given Jefferies a promise not to pardon her.
Even those multitudes who received pardon were obliged to atone for their guilt by fines, which reduced them to beggary; or, where their former poverty made them incapable of paying, they were condemned to cruel whippings or severe imprisonments. . . . The people might have been willing on this occasion to distinguish between the King and his ministers; but care was taken to prove that the latter had done nothing but what was agreeable to their master. Jefferies, on his return, was immediately, for those eminent services, created a peer; and was soon after vested with the dignity of chancellor.26
Such were the sufferings which a king could impose on Englishmen, and such was the treatment which they supported. It was in 1686 that England exhibited to Europe such examples of barbarity and servility; and two years after, when James II was deposed and the constitution established, began that period of one hundred and twenty-eight years down to our days, in which a single session of Parliament has not passed without adding some improvement to the state of society.
James II was highly culpable; yet we cannot deny that there was treason in the manner in which he was abandoned. His daughters deprived him of the crown.27 The persons who had professed for him the greatest attachment, and who owed him the greatest gratitude, left him. The officers broke their oath; but success having, according to an English epigram, excused this treason, it no longer bore the name.*
William III was a firm and wise statesman, accustomed, by his situation of Stadtholder in Holland, to respect liberty whether he naturally liked it or not. Queen Anne,28 who succeeded him, was a woman without talents and with no strong attachments but to prejudices. Although in possession of a throne which, according to the principles of legitimacy, she ought to have relinquished to her brother, she preserved a predilection for the doctrine of divine right; and although the party of the friends of liberty had made her queen, she always felt an involuntary disinclination to them. Yet political institutions were by this time acquiring so much strength that, abroad as at home, this reign was one of the most glorious in the annals of England. The House of Hanover completed the securities of religious and political reform; yet, till after the battle of Culloden, in 1746, the spirit of faction often got the better of the spirit of justice.29 A price of 30,000 livres was put on the head of Prince Edward, and much as people feared for liberty, they had difficulty in resolving on the only manner of establishing it, that is, on respecting principles, whatever be the circumstances of the moment.
But if we read with care the reign of the three Georges,30 we shall see that, during that period, morality and liberty have been in a course of uninterrupted advancement. What a beautiful spectacle is this constitution, unsteady on leaving its harbor, like a vessel launched into the sea, and at last spreading wide its sails and giving a spring to all that is great and generous in the human mind! I know that the English will assert that they have at all times had a stronger spirit of liberty than the French; that from the time of Caesar they repelled the Roman yoke; and that the code of these Romans, composed under the emperors, was never introduced into the English laws; it is equally true that by adopting the Reformation, the English founded at once morality and liberty on a firmer basis. The clergy, having always sat in Parliament along with the lay lords, had no distinct power in the state, and the English nobility showed themselves more factious, but less of courtiers, than the nobility of France. These differences are, it cannot be denied, to the advantage of England. In France, the beauty of the climate, the relish for society, all that embellishes life operated in favor of arbitrary power, as in the countries of the South, in which the pleasures of existence are sufficient for man. But as soon as the call for liberty takes possession of the mind, even the defects with which the French are reproached, their vivacity, their self-love, attach them more to what they have determined to conquer. They are the third people, reckoning the Americans, who are making the trial of a representative government, and the example of their predecessors begins at last to guide them. In whatever way we consider each nation, we find in it always that which will render a representative government not only possible but necessary. Let us then examine the influence of that government in the country which had first the glory of establishing it.
[1. ] This war ended in 1266 when Henry III Plantagenet reaffirmed the promises made in Magna Charta.
[2. ] The Hundred Years’ War (1337–1475).
[3. ] The War of the Two Roses (1455–85).
[4. ] Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428–71).
[5. ] Henry VII Tudor, King of England, reigned from 1485 to 1509.
[6. ] Henry VIII Tudor was King of England from 1509 to 1547. He managed to sever the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and establish himself as the supreme head of the church in England after being excommunicated by the pope in 1533.
[7. ] Catherine Howard, who married Henry VIII in 1540, was accused of adultery, found guilty, and executed in 1542. She was the fifth of Henry VIII’s six wives.
[8. ] Thomas More (1480–1535), grand chancellor under Henry VIII, opposed the reform of the church. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.
[9. ] Drafted by Henry VIII in 1539.
[10. ] Mary I (Mary Tudor), daughter of Henry VIII, was Queen of England from 1553 to 1558, when she unsuccessfully tried to restore Catholicism in England by persecuting Protestants (hence her nickname, “Bloody Mary”). She married Philip II of Spain in 1554.
[11. ] Elizabeth I, Queen of England, reigned from 1558 to 1603.
[12. ] Mary Stuart was Queen of Scotland from 1542 to 1567. She was arrested in 1586 and condemned to death for conspiring against Elizabeth I.
[13. ] James I reigned from 1603 to 1625.
[14. ] Charles I was King of England from 1625 to 1649. His conflict with Parliament triggered the civil war that led to the Revolution of 1648–49. He was tried and executed for high treason in January 1649.
[15. ] On this issue, also see Guizot, Histoire de la Révolution d’Angleterre depuis Charles I à Charles II.
[16. ] A few decades later Tocqueville, in The Old Régime and the Revolution, developed further this famous comparison between France and England by drawing on the different patterns of alliance between the monarch, the middle class, and the nobles in the two countries. For more information about the image of England in French political thought, see Jennings, “Conceptions of England and Its Constitution in Nineteenth-Century French Political Thought.”
[* ] I quote here the text of an address of the Commons under James I, which is an evident demonstration of this truth.
Declaration of the House of Commons in regard to its privileges, drawn up by a committee chosen to present that address to James I.
The Commons of this realm contain not only the citizens, burgesses, and yeomanry, but also the whole inferior nobility of the kingdom, knights, squires, and gentlemen, many of which are come immediately out of the most noble families; and some others of their worth advanced to the high honor of your Majesty’s privy council, and otherwise have been employed in very honorable service; in sum, the sole persons of the higher nobility excepted, they contain the whole power and flower of your kingdom; first, with their bodies your wars; secondly, with their purses your treasures are upheld and supplied; thirdly, their hearts are the strength and stability of your royal seat. All these, amounting to many millions of people, are representatively present in us of the House of Commons.
[17. ] Charles II reigned from 1660 to 1685; James II, from 1685 to 1688. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 brought William III of Orange to the throne of England.
[18. ] Lord William Russell (1639–83), an opponent of Charles II, was executed for participating in a conspiracy against the King (in which Algernon Sidney was also involved).
[19. ] James Dalrymple (1619–1695), a Scottish statesman who opposed the Stuarts, was the author of The Institutions of the Law of Scotland (1681).
[20. ]Habeas corpus is a basic individual right against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, dating back to the thirteenth century. It was properly formalized only in 1679, when the English Parliament voted the law of habeas corpus. The original Latin meaning, “you have the body,” refers to a civil proceeding used to review the legality of a prisoner’s confinement in criminal cases. In other words, it is a court petition that orders that a person being detained be produced before a judge for a hearing to decide whether the detention is lawful.
[21. ] John Wilot, second Count of Rochester (1647–80), was the author of poems and of a rich correspondence with his wife (published in 1686). William Wycherley (1640–1716), a playwright, wrote The Country Wife (1673). William Congreve (1670–1729), a playwright, wrote The Old Bachelor (1690).
[22. ] The Duke of Orléans.
[23. ] See Hume’s History of England, vol. 6, chap. LXX, 462–66.
[24. ] Hume refers to the victory of James II against the Duke of Monmouth in 1685.
[25. ] George Jeffreys (1648–89), chief justice of England, was imprisoned after the Revolution of 1688.
[26. ] For Hume’s account of this period, see The History of England, vol. 6, chap. lxx, 449–95.
[27. ] Mary II and Anne Stuart. Mary married William III of Orange, who succeeded James II on the throne of England.
[28. ] Queen Anne reigned from 1702 to 1714.
[29. ] On April 16, 1746, at Culloden (Scotland), the army led by the Duke of Cumberland defeated the army of Charles Edward Stuart.
[30. ] George I of Hanover (r. 1714–27), George II (r. 1727–60), and George III (r. 1760–1820).