ART. I. Observations on the Historical Work of the late Right Honourable Charles James Fox. By the Right Honourable George Rose. With a Narrative of the Events which occurred in the Enterprize of the Earl of Argyle in 1683. By Sir Patrick Hume. 4to., pp.

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ART. I. Observations on the Historical Work of the late Right Honourable Charles James Fox. By the Right Honourable George Rose. With a Narrative of the Events which occurred in the Enterprize of the Earl of Argyle in 1683. By Sir Patrick Hume. 4to., pp. 364. London. Cadell and Davis. 1809.

[pp. 243-255] [original article in PDF format]

  1. WE have now reached that precise point of distance from the Revolution of 1688, when the history of it may be written with the greatest advantage. It is sufficiently remote to open all desirable access to every repository of information regarding it; and to sanction the utmost freedom which justice may require, in the delineation of the conduct and characters of the individual actors in it, without indelicacy, or risk of offence to their descendants. But what is of far higher importance, the observer is now able to comprehend within his view the whole magnitude of the event, so as to perceive it in its true proportion and genuine aspects, to consider it unobscured by the passions and prejudices of existing factions; and, by comparing the age to which it gave birth, form, and character, not only with that which produced it, but with every other to which it bears any analogy, to make a just estimate of its real merits, and deduce with certainty the lessons it affords to the legislator, the statesman, and the political philosopher. At the same time the transaction is sufficiently recent to possess every advantage requisite for creating the most lively interest. The characters of those who were concerned in it, not only in their stronger features, but in the various colouring of light and shade that belong to them, are nearly those of such men as we now behold; and are still as fresh and blooming as their portraits in the galleries of their great grandchildren. The institutions to which it gave birth, or improvement, still form the government under which our country flourishes; and constitute a palladium, on the [243] preservation of which in vigour every party amongst us allows that our liberty, public prosperity, and national happiness depend. And above all, the great events that marked the last century, the American and French Revolutions, whether imitating or deviating from the model which it furnished, in their origin, accomplishment, and effects, concur to confer an importance on the revolution in 1688, of which its authors and objects were little aware, and to render it an era, from which a new series of political phenomena must date their rise, changing the aspect, and deeply operating on the fortunes and condition of the whole civilized world.

  2. It was impossible therefore that the surmise of Mr. Fox having engaged in so great an undertaking should not have excited much interest, and raised much expectation. Acute and ingenious, an accomplished scholar, beloved in private society, maintained for a long course of years in the second situation in the state (the head of opposition) by the support of a numerous party during a most eventful period, and there distinguished as a statesman and an orator of the greatest brilliancy, resources, and power—Those who regarded him as their oracle in politics, must have expected every thing from such a person employed on such a subject; and even the general mass of readers must have looked for a performance of great ability, and for a systematic delineation of public principles suited to Mr. Fox's views of the British constitution. There is, however, no sort of doubt, that, with whatever care it may be disguised, great and lamentable disappointment has been felt from the posthumous publication of his labours by both these descriptions of persons. No glimpse of those original and profound powers of thought, which constitute the philosophical historian, is to be discovered throughout the whole production; and even the introductory chapter, written obviously with much care, and apparently finished for the press, though chiefly relative to the period, 1679, when, according to Blackstone and Mr. Fox himself, the constitution had reached theoretical perfection, not only contains no display of so fine a theory; but, while it overlooks in silence the consideration of all objections to the doctrine, however prominent in the course of his own political conduct, exhibits not a single symptom of patriotic glow, at the glorious discovery of combining monarchical order and permanency with republican energy, and both with a degree of civil freedom formerly unknown. All that Mr. Fox deduces and ponders on is the reflection, and, as he gives it without qualification, a reflection equally unphilosophical and dangerous, that the characters of men who execute laws, and not the laws themselves, are of most importance; and then assuming that 'this' forsooth 'was the best moment of the best constitution [244] that ever human wisdom framed,' afflicts himself and his readers, through the tyranny which ensued, with impotent complaints of the inefficacy of human institutions.

  3. Here, at any rate, it was certainly the duty of an enlightened historian of Mr. Fox's sentiments, to have considered the adequacy of the representative body, as then arranged and returned, to perform its constitutional functions; to have pointed out the sufficiency of the powers granted to the peerage and dignified clergy for the due exercise of their functions in the House of Lords; to have examined the royal prerogative in its various branches, and explained how, by the wise provisions of the constitution, means were furnished for maintaining the independence of the crown as a branch of the legislature, while the exercise of the executive power was duly subjected to the regular and effective controul of the two Houses of Parliament; and, in fine, to have proved, that, under the established arrangements, there was either no occasion for any further controul upon the legislature and government as then constituted, or that the controul required was provided in the unalienable sovereignty of the people, that is, in the opinion of the nation gradually formed by the sentiments of its most enlightened citizens, and rendered irresistible when constitutionally announced. But if Mr. Fox had executed this task, he must have discussed the thorny questions of parliamentary reform, and the necessity of a certain imperfection in the representation subservient to the interests of the peerage and the throne, the right of the crown to name ministers, and to augment the peerage without limitation, and, in fine, the extent of the dispensing power, and of the appeal to the people against the resolutions of the House of Commons.

  4. After disposing of these points as he best could, he must have concluded with either renouncing his theoretical perfection of 1679, or accounting for the unrestrained and unpunished profligacy of the Cabal Administration, on other principles than the inefficacy of human laws without good men to execute them: a maxim, which seems merely a different form of expressing the common apology of all despotic systems, That good governors require no laws, and bad ones are not to be restrained by them: whereas, the truth is, that good laws and institutions aid the best men in governing well, and restrain even bad men in public trust, from venturing to be criminal. Accordingly, no man of information can doubt that the efficacy of our constitution at this day is such, as would render it impossible, even for a Charles the Second, and ministers as unprincipled as the Cabal, to form so much as a project of criminal ambition approaching to theirs. The certainty of detection is now so great, that nothing short of the courage of martyrs could undertake the danger, and madness alone could hope to succeed. [245]

  5. But to those who have been taught to think correctly on government, and to estimate justly the merits of Mr. Fox's political life, there is a much more serious objection to his performance than a mere deficiency of philosophical views, and a failure of displaying luminously and powerfully the principles and merits of the British constitution. There is an insensibility to the paramount importance of the monarchy in that constitution which transpires on every occasion, when the sentiments and behaviour of parties, or leaders of parties, are described. It is to the moderation of the Whigs, and not to true constitutional attachment, or a proper sense of its real importance, that the admission of monarchy into their plan of freedom is attributed; and it is to a blind idolatry, and not to any rational reliance on the crown, as essential to the protection of civil liberty, against oligarchic tyranny, religious fanaticism, and military usurpation, that the loyalty of the church of England and the Tories is ascribed. No credit is given to the Southamptons, the Ormonds, the Nottinghams, the Somerses, the Russells, and other great leaders of Tories and Whigs, for genuine well considered attachment to the crown, as essential to the best plan of regulated freedom, notwithstanding every disapprobation of the unworthy characters that occasionally wore it: and the public feeling, which made way for the revolution of 1688, instead of being acknowledged as the result of the supereminent attachment of the nation to its constitution, and of a general sense among all parties, that a revolution was the only means left to save it, is degraded into a sort of truckling compromise between opposite factions, in which the Whigs submit to modify their republicanism by the admission of kingly power into the constitution, and the Tories sacrifice their passion for absolute monarchy, in order to remove their terrors for the safety of the church, to which they were attached with still more bigoted superstition.

  6. But here the plain and obvious truth strikes every eye which is not jaundiced. There might be a few partisans of absolute power; there were a few republicans, and those chiefly among the sect of Independants; but the great mass of the people, whether Episcopalians or Presbyterians, were attached to the constitution of their country. Of these, one half saw more danger in the encroachments of the crown than in the influence of demagogues with the people; these were called Whigs: the other half apprehended more from the turbulence of the people, and the ambition of factious leaders, than from the crown; these were called Tories. But, though all had their partialities and their prejudices, it is the mere abuse of hostile faction to call the Whigs republicans, and the Tories devotees of arbitrary power. In fact, the state of the government gave the nation, at times, the appearance of being all of one faction. [246] In 1641, all was Whig. Charles had ruled twelve years without parliament, and the nation appeared unanimous in its sense of danger from the crown. When parliament soon after aimed at grasping the power of the sword, a great proportion of the best and most enlightened part of the public became Tory. And in 1660, the recent usurpation, to which both the king and the church had fallen sacrifices, rendered nearly the whole nation Tory. And notwithstanding much public oppression, and profligacy in administration, the horror of the civil war, and the military government which followed it, maintained the public in Tory principles down to the Revolution, when the language of statesmen became once more Whig, and the principles of the new establishment were systematically inculcated. It is absurd to think that the nation became thus alternately republicans and partisans of arbitrary power. The simple truth is, that the nation, attached to its constitution, changed the object of its dread, as circumstances impressed it with a sense of danger from opposite quarters.

  7. It is not easy to conceive that observations so palpable could escape the notice of Mr. Fox; and indeed he must have lived with little profit from his own experience, if he was not taught that public opinion is at this day strongly influenced by similar principles. When the combination of Lord North and himself led a majority in the House of Commons to assume a virtual election of ministers, the nation did not relish the attempt; and choosing (as Mr. Burke confesses) that the power of nomination should remain with the king, as the first gentleman in the country already at the top of his ambition, instead of becoming the prey of an oligarchy contending for power, it decided the question by depriving 150 members of their seats. In the same way the dread of French democracy rendered the public Tory for the time; and they apprehended, and not without just cause, that, under the mask of parliamentary reform, the monarchy and the aristocracy were threatened. But was the nation less attached to its constitution, because on these occasions it pronounced its opinion strongly? On the contrary, the energy it displayed was the best evidence of its constitutional spirit; and though the occasions called for anti-republican measures, opposite circumstances would have produced opposite effects.

  8. There are symptoms which render it probable that it was not altogether fortunate for the correctness of Mr. Fox's views, and the propriety of his public feelings, that the American war should occur at a period when, perhaps, for the first time, he was thinking on general principles. Mr. Burke was thoroughly imbued with constitutional doctrines, and was certainly an able tutor to Mr. Fox. But the lessons at such a period must have been all of one tendency; and, under an avowed approbation of American resistance, [247] it is at least likely, that the ideas of the pupil, placed in the vigour of youth at the head of opposition, would extend beyond the doctrines of the teacher. In America, the great experiment of creating an elective executive power was made with some success; a measure that could not fail to enlarge the ideas of the leaders of parties, as to objects of personal aggrandisement; and, under those political events which ensued in Europe, might possibly 'open,' as Mr. Burke expresses it, 'some new walks of ambition to Mr. Fox's view.'* And it is remarkable that, in the introductory chapter, where he alludes to the establishment of the American government, he could not omit paying a tribute to 'the most glorious of all parts' performed by Washington; while he makes not a single effort to explain how it has happened that America, though defended by her scattered population, agricultural habits, and remote position from any immediate danger of military usurpation, oligarchic faction, or foreign corruption, should yet be obnoxious to most of those evils which have formed the miserable lot of every nation in whose politics foreign states felt any considerable interest, and where the executive was elective, and the royal prerogative nominal or weak.

  9. Still, however, it certainly is extraordinary, that Mr. Fox's English heart could permit him to disparage the attachment of the people to their free constitution. And cold and insensible, as he seems to be, to the interests of religious establishments, and hostile to Tory and Church bigotry, it was yet to have been expected, from the ostensible head of the Whigs of the present day, and an avowed zealot to gain them proselytes, that the loyalty of the party in former times would have been traced to an animating principle, which somewhat corresponded to the warmth of its professions. We might almost suspect that Mr. Fox had become an adept in the new philosophy which Mr. Burke imputes to the modern Whigs; and that while his sympathies had been exercised for the progress of American, and French, and universal liberty, he looked with much indifference at the patriotism of our ancestors, and their political contests about a government made up from kings, peers, bishops, and other elements of barbarous times: contests, too, carried on with so little refinement, that the indulgence for political crimes which Mr. Fox claims,* never appears to have once occurred to them, no more than the moral apology for the death of Charles the First, That it might be necessary for the safety of the Commonwealth; which, though suggested as a mere remark by Hume, was reserved for Mr. Fox to consider as a sort of justification. [248]

  10. When, however, we reflect on Mr. Fox's great discernment and talents, we rather incline to conjecture, that feeling, as he must, the smart of Mr. Burke's attacks, and perceiving the impossibility of discussing with him the question, That the old Whigs were loyalists and aristocrats as much as democrats, in short, that they were constitutionalists and not republicans, he saw, as confutation was impossible, and recantation, in his situation, equally so, nothing remained, but to leave his principles to posterity under the stigma of that immortal writer, or to compose a grave and authoritative work, where, without discussion of Mr. Burke's proofs, he could ascribe to the founders of his party such principles as he himself had assumed during the struggles of his political life, or such modification of them as he found it convenient and desirable to maintain. From such a work, to which he might naturally judge that he was fully adequate, founded generally on solid information, and adorned with the fascinating display of his manly eloquence, he might reasonably hope for a preponderance of fame, while it stamped the public mind with the political impressions which he wished it to bear. If this plan has failed of success, and it most assuredly has, the little progress made in the work may perhaps be said to account for the phenomenon. But some may also doubt, whether, when the inventive period of life has been passed in the turmoil of dissipation and business, and political notions have been formed and rivetted during thirty years employed in active opposition, it is to be expected that profound, comprehensive, impartial, and solid views of government, laws, and morals, can have replenished the mind, so as to form a proper historian of the revolution. Nor will the recollection of the claim to an hereditary right of regency, or of the opposition made to affording protection to Poland when regenerating herself after the model of the British constitution,* or of the unbounded admiration expressed at French legislation, tend in any degree to obviate such doubts.

  11. It seems probable, from the elegant and interesting preface of the editor of Mr. Fox's work, that its deficiency in philosophic views and political discussion was not unobserved. Accordingly we are there prepared to lay our account with the mere relation of a story unaccompanied with any thing resembling dissertation, as all that Mr. Fox judged admissible in history; and we are led by a series of interesting remarks to turn our expectations and attention to a singular accuracy to be found in the statement of facts, and to much purity and simplicity in the structure of the composition. And to this line of examination Mr. Rose accordingly appears in general to [249] have been directed in his view of the work, and in the various remarks with which he has favoured the public; all of which will be found more or less deserving of consideration, not only by the future historian who performs the task which Mr. Fox was prevented from accomplishing, but by every person who wishes to attain a correct knowledge of the transactions and characters of what may justly be termed the classical period of English history.

  12. Mr. Rose explains, in an Introduction, that the principal purpose of his publication was to vindicate an ancestor of the late Earl of Marchmont, from imputations in Mr. Fox's account of the Expedition of the Earl of Argyle in 1685. This ancestor was Sir Patrick Hume, who accompanied the Earl in that expedition, but escaped to Holland, and was, after the Revolution, created Earl of Marchmont, and Chancellor of Scotland, in reward of his merits and sufferings in the cause of his country. Mr. Rose subjoins to his 'Observations,' a narrative which Sir Patrick had left of what occurred in that expedition. It carries much intrinsic evidence of truth with it; and when the known character for worth and integrity which belonged to its author is considered, no impartial person will doubt that the statement of having deserted his leader, on the dispersion of the insurgents, is an error; and that the Earl of Argyle had taken his resolution not to proceed to Glasgow, as given out to them, but to separate, and that he actually had departed for Argyleshire before Sir Patrick reached the village of Kilpatrick; whence, with Sir John Cochrane and a few more, he forthwith effected his escape into Ayrshire. Subjoined to this narrative, is a very pleasing and interesting memorial by Lady Murray of Stanhope, granddaughter to Sir Patrick, containing some particulars of his concealment in the family vault, and the domestic life of himself and family when fugitives in Holland. We believe no man would have been more disposed to relish these documents than Mr. Fox, and to have done justice to those concerned; and as he did not live to be the publisher of his own work, it is but fair to suppose, that before sending it to the press he might have made more ample researches for information; and that, at any rate, he would always have been ready to receive communications. It is obvious, indeed, from Lord Holland's preface, that Mr. Fox did not undertake his work because he had made researches, or because discoveries had fallen in his way; but that, after determining to write, he set about searching for information, and inquiring where to find it!

  13. Mr. Rose, however, is not satisfied with the vindication of Sir Patrick Hume. He seems inclined to abate considerably from the merits ascribed by Mr. Fox to the Earl of Argyle, and he is particularly dissatisfied with the contrast so beautifully drawn by that [250] gentleman between the tranquillity of the Earl, which permitted him to fall into a sound sleep a short time before his execution, and the agitation attributed to a privy counsellor on observing the circumstance. It is scarcely possible to discuss this question without detailing the arguments of Mr. Rose: this our limits will not allow; and we must therefore content ourselves with observing, that they do not appear altogether satisfactory. Woodrow, from whom the anecdote is derived, was an intelligent man, and, though a zealous partisan, highly worthy of credit. When we take into the account too, that Scotland was at this time subjected to a tyranny, violent, bloody, and rapacious beyond example, it does not seem so improbable that the conscience of a member of such a government should, on such an occasion, have borne witness against him.

  14. Mr. Rose also controverts the fact of Monk having given up the private letters of the Marquis of Argyle, in order to convict him of being hearty in the cause of that usurpation to which the nation had submitted, and endeavours to obviate, in other respects, the severity of obloquy which Mr. Fox has poured on the character of Monk. There is, however, the positive evidence of Principal Baillie to the fact, and also of Bishop Burnet, who, though only eighteen years of age at the time, must have had ample opportunity afterwards of learning the truth of a proceeding, which was so interesting to many great families, and to the nation at large; and which, considering that Argyle had been mainly instrumental in placing the crown of Scotland on the head of Charles, was connected with the reputation of the sovereign himself. In such a matter, too, the disappearance from the public archives of all the written documents exhibited at the trial, cannot be thrown entirely out of consideration. We cannot enter into any discussion of the personal character of Monk, or of the probability arising from particular instances of generosity, that he was incapable of the baseness imputed to him: neither can we canvass the character of Burnet, which Tories and Jacobites have so long selected as a favourite object of attack. But though something is said by Mr. Rose in favour of the former, and much collected from different quarters against the latter, we would rather, on the whole, incline to Mr. Fox's sentiments on these subjects than to those of his critic. We think, that the esteem of Lord Russell and of William the Third for Burnet, greatly overbalances the obloquy of Charles, and his ministers, and mistresses; and that if we suppose Argyle's letters only contained such general expressions of regard to the government of the time, as induced it to suffer the head of the presbyterians in Scotland to remain there, there is nothing either in Monk's character, or in any of the arguments which Mr. Rose has collected, of sufficient weight to overcome the positive testimony to the charge. Accordingly Mr. [251] Hume relates the fact as certain. And no person can doubt that it was merely the superior influence of Argyle with his countrymen, and no cordiality in supporting the usurpation to which he had ever been an object of jealousy and apprehension, that rendered him, at a period when Monk had still great power and influence, a victim to the fears, the hatred, and the profligacy of the Middleton administration; the same which a few years afterwards procured the condemnation of Lord Loine for writing an innocent private letter offensive to them, and carried through Parliament an act of incapacity, confiscation, and banishment against twelve political foes, whom they were afterwards to name by ballot!

  15. Mr. Rose employs his three first sections chiefly in strictures on some of Mr. Fox's more general positions:—the advantage of the publicity of the trial and death of Charles a restoration the worst species of revolutions*—the instruments of the restoration 1660 reprehensible for omitting all precautions for the security of public liberty—the theoretical perfection of the constitution in 1679—the complicated corruption and meanness of Charles's political relations with France—and the notion that James's primary object was the establishment of arbitrary power, while the introduction of popery was only a subordinate design in the policy of his government. We cannot think that Mr. Fox would have persisted in this last position, had he lived to review his work for publication. It is abundantly disproved by materials which he himself had provided, and which appear in his appendix; and surely the measures of James in favour of popery were at any rate sufficiently palpable to rouse the indignation and apprehension of protestants. It signifies nothing, therefore, to the establishment of Mr. Fox's charge against the nation, of indifference or dislike to freedom, what was the comparative degree of intensity of James's two favourite passions. His attacks both on religion and liberty were so open and decided, that if the nation loved either the one or the other, it had no choice but to resist. Mr. Rose leaves no longer any room for doubt on the nature of James's predilections.

  16. The fourth and fifth sections of the 'Observations' are professedly directed to examine Mr. Fox's claims to that diligent and thorough research as to all facts, however minute, introduced into his narrative, which his Noble Editor has advanced in his behalf. And here it does appear, that Mr. Fox, besides being sometimes incorrect, and that even in a matter of translation, had not made that general inquiry after unpublished documents which we should have [252] expected; that no new discovery of any importance has been made by him in his researches in France or elsewhere, and even that there is no peculiar sagacity to be observed in his work, either in weighing the historical evidence of facts, or in delineating the character and conduct of individuals. We must, however, repeat that a posthumous work ought not to be criticised without some reserve. And we note with pleasure, the tone of moderation and respect which Mr. Rose has constantly maintained towards his political adversary.

  17. In the course of Mr. Rose's observations, he is led to take some notice of the accusations against Lord Russell and Algernon Sydney, of having received money from France. Everything on such a subject is highly interesting, and we cannot resist favouring our readers with Mr. Rose's ideas upon it. He had been vindicating Sir John Dalrymple, by some detail of proofs, against the charge of concealment of evidence from Barillon's Letters, tending to criminate the conduct and characters of Charles and his brother, from which he concluded—

    'With such evidence before us, produced by Sir John Dalrymple, in support of charges against the two brothers, it appears not to be quite consistent with justice to reproach him with having "omitted to extract or publish important dispatches;" as it would be extremely difficult to devise a possible motive, after what he had produced himself, for withholding one sentence printed by Mr. Fox. The researches of the latter were confined to a part of the year 1685; whereas the Baronet applied his industry to everything he could find, from the year 1667 to the revolution; to which glorious event the measures of James necessarily led.'

    'Nothing (continues Mr. Rose) can justify the conduct of the two brothers, in their private communications and corrupt connexions with the French king. An attempt to palliate it, by urging the long and hereditary connexions which had subsisted between the Stewart dynasty and the monarchs of France, to whom they were always accustomed to look up for assistance against foreign, and protection against domestic enemies, would be but a bad defence. Every native of Great Britain, carrying on a clandestine correspondence with a foreign power, in matters touching the interests of Great Britain, is prima facie guilty of a great moral, as well as political crime, If a subject, he is a traitor to his king and his country; if a monarch, he is a traitor to the crown which he wears, and to the empire which he governs. There may, by possibility, be circumstances to extenuate the former; there can be none to lessen our detestation of the latter.

    'That large sums were received from France by the two monarchs, their ministers, and others of their subjects, it will be impossible to doubt when the correspondence of Courtin and of Barillon with their court shall have been read: for, on arguing the testimony of the papers of [253] those ambassadors as historical evidence, it must be acknowledged without reference to legal nicety, that their letters must be uniformly admitted or rejected; not admitted against the king, and rejected against his opponents. That will not, however, preclude the argument which their intrinsic nature, or the comparison of other contemporary documents, affords, to criminate the one or exculpate the other. The zeal of some of the admirers of Sydney and Russell (a zeal natural to a British mind) led them at first to dispute the authenticity of Barillion's letters altogether, which, Mr. Fox says, "were worth their weight in gold." A better defence, however, has always appeared capable of being made by no very unreasonable suspicion, not of the authenticity, but of the authority, of that minister's correspondence, connected with the nature of the transactions themselves; and the equivocal purpose of his statements, with regard to the intercourse between him and the leaders in the British parliament.

    'It is difficult to be persuaded, that the distributions stated by him are in all instances correct; particularly in the cases of the two distinguished men above mentioned, notwithstanding the observation of Sir John Dalrymple, "that when he found in the French dispatches, Lord Russell intriguing with the court of Versailles, and Algernon Sydney taking money from it, he felt very near the same shock as if he had seen a son turn his back in the day of battle." So strong an expression would naturally lead the reader to expect that the imputation would be established beyond all possibility of doubt: but some relief must be derived from learning, that the proof of the facts, which occasioned this severe trial of Sir John's nerves, rests on the authority of Barillon's letters. That minister stated that he had given two bribes of 500l. each to Sydney; and that with Lord Russell he had been in a clandestine intercourse.

    'Without resolving the question just now alluded to, or deciding what degree of extenuation is admissible in the case of a subject of one prince having private communications, on matters of state, with the ambassador of another, in time of peace, it must be observed, that in the whole of the correspondence between Barillon and his court, there is not one syllable tending to an insinuation that either of those persons showed a disposition to give furtherance to any view of Lewis, hostile to what they believed to be the true interests of their country; on the contrary, Monsieur Barillon himself furnishes evidence of the principles which Sydney avowed to him, and on which he acted, very opposite to any wish of aiding James's objects. The statement by Barillon of Sydney having accepted money from him, is certainly very plain and distinct; but however we may differ from that distinguished man as to the form of government best adapted to promote the happiness and prosperity of his country, in judging on a point of high importance to his reputation, it will not, we hope, be thought illiberal, or bearing too hard on the memory of a foreigner of considerable note, if we have in our contemplation, on one hand, the high character of our countryman for inflexible integrity, and the improbability of his doing anything unworthy of that for two sums comparatively so paltry; and, on the other [254] hand, that Barillon was entrusted by his Sovereign with very large sums of money; the distribution of which he was of course to give some account of, but for which no vouchers could be required of him: and if it shall be thought allowable to entertain a doubt of the accuracy of the accounts of the ambassador, we may then venture to suggest that he had a two-fold inducement to place those sums to the name of Mr. Sydney, as furnishing a discharge for the amount stated to be given; and affording means of obtaining credit with his employer, for having been able to prevail with such a man to receive foreign money for any purpose. This appears not to be an unfair way of viewing the subject. Mr. Fox, however, could hardly be aware how Barillon's testimony bore on the character of these two men, on whom he bestows great and just eulogiums, when thinking it useful in support of a position he wished to maintain, he appreciated the value of Barillon's letters so highly, as we have observed, and added, that his studies at Paris "had been useful beyond what he could describe."'

    We cannot bid adieu to the works of these two eminent writers, without expressing a hope, that they will effectually convince the public, that whoever undertakes the history of the revolution must begin with the reign of Charles the Second. Mr. Hume's account of it is much too general, had it no other defect, to afford sufficient information on so important and so recent a period of British story. Besides, a great deal of most valuable matter, relative to it, has been brought to light since that work was composed. The Clarendon Papers, Dalrymple's Collections, &c., have appeared; and Mr. Rose shows that much more might still be recovered. In short, a history of the revolution establishment is yet wanted, a history that shall be so full and detailed, as to afford satisfaction to the lawyer, the statesman, the philosopher, and the general reader; where at the outset, the constitution, as it stood at the Restoration, shall be correctly delineated, the progressive movement of laws, government, factions, and opinions traced, and a kindly and paramount regard for all the branches of the constitution, and for the interests of religion, liberty, and order, without bias for individuals, parties, or opinions, be invariably maintained.

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September 2006

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