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The History Of England From The Accession Of James Ii
by Thomas Macaulay
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This book is the history of England from the accession of King James the Second down to the time that is within the memory of men still living. The author shall recount the errors which, in a few moments, alienated a loyal gentry and priesthood from the House of Stuart. Macaulay traces the course of that revolution which terminated the long struggle between our sovereigns and their parliaments, and bound up together the rights of the people and the title of the reigning dynasty. He shall also relate how the new settlement was, during many troubled years, successfully defended against foreign and domestic enemies; how, under that settlement, the authority of law an the security of property found to be compatible with a liberty of discussion and of individual action never before known; how, from the auspicious union of order and freedom sprang a prosperity of which the annuals of human affairs had furnished no example; how our country, from a state of ignominio! us vassalage, rapidly rose to the place of umpire among European powers; how her opulence and her martial glory grew together; how, by wise and resolute good faith, was gradually established a public credit fruitful of marvels which to the statesmen of any former age would have seen incredible; how a gigantic commerce gave birth to a maritime power, compared with which every other maritime power, ancient or modern, sinks in to insignificance; how Scotland, after ages of enmity, was at length united to England, not merely by legal bonds, but by indissoluble ties of interest and affection; how, in American, the British colonies rapidly became far mightier and wealthier than the realms which Cortes and Pizzaro had added to the dominions of Charles the Fifth; how in Asia, British adventurers founded an empire not less splendid and more durable than that of Alexander.
The events which the author proposes to relate form only a single act of a great and eventful drama extending through ages, and must be very imperfectly understood unless the plot of the preceding acts be well known. He shall therefore introduce his narrative by slight sketch of the history of our country from the earliest times. He shall also pass very rapidly over many centuries: but he shall dwell at some length on the vicissitudes of that contest which the administration of King James the Second brought to a decisive crisis.
1st Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59) was a British historian, essayist, and statesman, best remembered for his five-volume History of England.
Baron Macaulay was a minor poet but a brilliant essayist. His History of England has been criticized for its Protestant and Whig bias, but his vast wealth of material, his use of vivid details, and his brilliant, rhetorical, narrative style combined to make it one of the greatest literary works of the 19th century.
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