bishops in the church, of officers in the navy, and still
more in the army, in which even boys at school held commissions, and we shall find that the aristocracy of England
absorbed all the functions of administration.
Yet, even here, the spirit of aristocracy was reined in. Every man claimed a right to sit in judgment on the administration; and the mighty power of public opinion,1
embodied in a free press, pervaded, checked, and, in the last resort, nearly governed the whole.
Nor must he who will understand the English
institutions leave out of view the character of the enduring works which had sprung from the salient energy of the English
Literature had been left to develope itself.
William of Orange
was foreign to it; Anne cared not for it; the first George knew no English
; the second, not much.
Devotedness to the monarch is not impressed on English literature; but it willingly bore the mark of its own aristocracy.
Envy must own I live among the great,
was the boast of the most finished English poet of the eighteenth century.
Neither the earlier nor the later literature put itself at war with the country or its classes.
The philosophy of Bacon
, brilliant with the richest lustre of a creative imagination and extensive learning, is marked by moderation as well as grandeur; and, like that principle of English institutions which consults