wives, fought duels, and kept about him a train of vo-
Chap. XVII.} 1668 to 1671.
luptuaries; but he was not, like Clarendon
, a tory by system; far from building up the exclusive Church of England, he ridiculed bishops as well as sermons; and when the Quakers went to him with their hats on, to discourse on the equal rights of every conscience, he told them, that he was at heart in favor of their princi-
ple. English honor was wrecked; English finances became bankrupt; but the progress of the nation towards internal freedom was no longer opposed with steadfast consistency; and England
was better satisfied than it had been with the wise and virtuous Clarendon
As the tendency of the cabal became apparent, a new division necessarily followed: the king was surrounded by men who still desired to uphold the prerogative, and stay the movement of the age; while Shaftesbury
, always consistent in his purpose, ‘unwill-
ing to hurt the king, yet desiring to keep him tame in a cage;’ averse to the bishops, because the bishops would place prerogative above liberty; averse to democracy, because democracy would substitute freedom for privilege,—in organizing a party, afterwards known as the whig party, suited himself to the spirit of the times.
It was an age of progress towards liberty of conscience; Shaftesbury
favored toleration: it was an age when the vast increase of commercial activity claimed for the moneyed interest an influence in the government; Shaftesbury
always lent a willing ear to the merchants.
Commerce and Protestant toleration were the elements of his power over the public mind.
He did not so much divide dominion with the merchants and the Presbyterians, as act as their patron; having himself for his main object to keep ‘the bucket’ of
the aristocracy from sinking.
The declaration of in