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Chapter 3:

England and its dependencies


North of the channel that bounded France, liberty
chap. III.} 1763.
was enjoyed by a wise and happy people, whose domestic character was marked by moderation, and, like its climate, knew but little of extremes. The opinions on religion and on government which speculative men on the continent of Europe were rashly developing without qualification or reserve, were derived from England. She rose before the philosophers as the asylum of independent thought, and upon the nations as the home of revolution, where liberty emanated from discord and sedition. There free opinion had carried analysis boldly to every question of faith as well as of science. English free-thinkers had led the way in the reaction of Protestant Europe against the blind adoration of the letter of the Bible. English Deists, tracing Christianity to reason and teaching that it was as old as creation, were the forerunners of the German Rationalists. English treatises on the human understanding were the sources of the materialism of France. In the atmosphere of England

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