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VOL. I. P. PAGE Robert Lowe (Viscount SHERBROOKE) Frontispiece From a photograph. DANIEL O'CONNELL . - - - 2
From a painting by BERNARD MULRENIN,
LORD PALMERSTON - - - . I2O From a photograph.
JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN . - - . 286 From a photograph.
LORD ROSEBERY . - - - . 3 I4 From a photograph.
DURING the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, the political and religious energies of Europe were very largely devoted to the settlement of questions that had been raised by that great upheaval known as the Protestant Reformation. On the Continent a reaction had almost everywhere set in. Not only were the new religious doctrines very generally stifled, but even those political discontents which seemed to follow as an inseparable consequence of the religious movement, were put down with a rigorous hand. The general tendency was toward the establishment of a firmer absolution both in Church and in State.
But in England this tendency was arrested.
It was the good fortune of the nation to have a monarch upon the throne who vigorously re. sisted every foreign attempt to interfere with English affairs. It was doubtless the political situation rather than earnestness of religious conviction that led Elizabeth to make the Church of England independent of the Church of Rome. But in securing political independence she also secured the success of the Reformation. Doubtless she was neither able nor inclined to resist the prevailing tendency toward political absolutism ; but it had been indispensable to her success that she should enlist in the cause of religious and political independence all the powers of the nation. However, as soon as independence was established by the destruction of the Spanish Armada, it became evident that there was another question to be settled of not less significance. That question was whether the English Constitution was to be developed in the direction of its traditional methods, or whether the government and people should adopt the reactionary methods that were coming to be so generally accepted on the