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bishops, were still strong, and to carry the treaty the Tory leaders found it necessary to resort to a swamping 1711 creation of twelve peers. This was deemed at the time, and in fact was, an act of unscrupulous violence. Yet there is no other way, apart from physical force, of compelling the Lords to bow to the national will as declared by the representative House. One man had the spirit to decline the ignominious honour.

The Tory squires and the high church parsons now had their carnival of reaction. The Act against Occasional Conformity, which had been more than once thrown out by the Lords, passed both Houses, helped in the Lords by 1711 an unholy compact of some of the Whigs with Tories, who were willing on that condition to vote against the Treaty of Utrecht. To the Occasional Conformity Act was added the Schism Act, prohibiting dissenters from 1714 educating their children. Bishop Butler, the one great theologian whom the Church of England produced in the eighteenth century, was educated at a non-conformist school; so was Burke, the great lay champion of the Establishment; so had been Harley himself. Striking, yet not unnatural nor perhaps unique, is this picture of persecuting priests headed in an attack on liberty by an unbeliever and a debauchee. Church interests in everything prevailed. A tax was put on coal to build 1710 fifty churches in London. The Regium Donum, the dole hitherto given to the Irish Presbyterians, was stopped; a blow was struck at the Presbyterian conscience in Scot- 1712 land by the restoration of the rights of patronage; and protection was extended to the persecuted Episcopalians, not, assuredly, from love of toleration, but from enmity to their Presbyterian foes.

To strengthen the landed and depress the commercial

element, the Bill vetoed by the king and rejected by the 1710 Lords in the last reign was now passed, requiring prop

erty in land as a qualification for all members of parliament. The Tory theory was that land was the only true basis of political power.

Nor did the huntsman fail to show his hounds more personal game. Steele, for having written a telling Whig pamphlet, was accused of seditious libel and expelled the House. Robert Walpole, one of the managers of the

. Sacheverell impeachment and a rising speaker and financier, was falsely accused of embezzlement and sent to the Tower. Of Walpole the Tories had not heard the last.

A stamp duty was laid on newspapers and the cheap 1712 press, nominally for the purpose of raising revenue and

repressing libel ; really, it cannot be doubted, in the same spirit of hostility to a cheap press which led the same political party to oppose the repeal of the stamp duty at an after day. Press persecutions also were rife. But pamphleteering could not be suppressed. Both sides had become too fond of literary war.

Bolingbroke has declared that there was no formal design of bringing in the Pretender. Formal or not, there was a design for bringing in the Pretender of which Bolingbroke was the soul. Correspondence was going on with St. Germains. A perilous crisis in the history of the nation and of liberty had arrived. Harley's nerve failed him when he approached the brink. He wavered, faltered, and at last, after a fierce altercation in the presence of the

queen, was overthrown by his more daring partner and 1714 turned out of office. Bolingbroke was now sole master of

the ship; but before he had time to lay his plans, fortune, to use his own phrase, bantered him. Harley was turned out on Tuesday ; on Sunday the queen died. The Jaco- 1714 bites, dispersed all over the country, were not ready; the Whigs were gathered in the cities. A bold stroke made in the council by Whig Lords favourable to the Hanoverian succession, when the queen was dying, put the headship of the government with the staff of Treasurer, into the hands of Shrewsbury, thus setting Bolingbroke aside. Bolingbroke was taken by surprise; he was not ready, and his plot collapsed. Atterbury, the clerical leader of the Jacobites, a turbulent and designing priest, offered, as was believed, desperate counsels, but in vain. In a nonconformist chapel in the city, a handkerchief dropped from the gallery, which was the preconcerted signal, told the preacher that the queen was dead. He 1714 and his congregation at once broke forth into a jubilant hymn. Fortune had bantered Boling broke.

CHAPTER V

GEORGE I. AND GEORGE II.

THE MINISTRIES OF WAL

POLE AND CHATHAM

GEORGE I. - Born 1660; SUCCEEDED 1714; DIED 1727
GEORGE II. - Born 1683; SUCCEEDED 1727; DIED 1760

IN

whose hands after these political vicissitudes was the country left ? Mainly in those of the landed aristocracy and gentry. Those yeomen freeholders who had once been numerous and of whom Cromwell had formed his Ironsides, were going out of existence; rising, if they were opulent, into the class of squires, falling, if they were needy, into the class of tenant farmers. Land, with the social rank and political influence attached to it, became the object of a competition in which wealth prevailed. A rise in the scale of living would draw the yeoman into expenses which led to embarrassment and enforced sale, while the great landowner of the neighbourhood, the rich East Indian or the successful trader, was always ready to buy. Great estates became the rule. Their lords designated the members of parliament for the county, nominated members for pocket or petty boroughs, exercised political influence everywhere, and as LordsLieutenant, Sheriffs, or Justices of the Peace, had the local administration in their hands. At the head of the landed interest were the peers, hereditary owners collectively of a vast amount of land. The order of baronets with

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hereditary titles, but without seats in parliament, formed a link between the peers and the squires. The estates were entailed. The eldest son took the family mansion and the acres. The younger sons were quartered on the family livings, on the army, or on the public services, appointments to which were patronage, to be obtained through the political interest possessed by the head of the house.

The landed gentry formed a social as well as a political aristocracy, distinct though not close. To propitiate the Duke of Wellington, who had been affronted, the Count d'Artois complimented him on the great things which he had done and the confidence reposed in him by the crowned heads. “ More than that,” replied the Duke, “I am an English gentleman, and no one shall insult me with impunity.” “You would degrade a gentleman to the level of a king or a grocer,” says a character in a novel to one who proposes to him an act of vulgar publicity. Only a gentleman could assume armorial bearings, be called “esquire,” or fight a duel. Trade was against caste, and those who had made fortunes by it were with difficulty admitted into county society, though the squire, or even the peer, might not disdain to repair a dilapidated estate by marriage with the trader's daughter. All professions were derogatory except the church, the upper grade of the law, and the army. Even the navy was for some time barely within the pale; Smollett's Commodore Trunnion is its representative in fiction. There was a commercial as well as a landed interest; but the man who had made his fortune by trade laid it out in land as his passport to high society, and connected his family by marriage, if he could, with the landed gentry. Even East Indian and

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