The History of England from the Accession of James the II (Volume 5)

 
9781479244478: The History of England from the Accession of James the II (Volume 5)

No man of sense has, in our days, or in the days of our fathers, seriously maintained that our island could be safe without an army. And, even if our island were perfectly secure from attack, an army would still be indispensably necessary to us. The growth of the empire has left us no choice. The regions which we have colonized or conquered since the accession of the House of Hanover contain a population exceeding twenty-fold that which the House of Stuart governed. There are now more English soldiers on the other side of the tropic of Cancer in time of peace than Cromwell had under his command in time of war. All the troops of Charles II. would not have been sufficient to garrison the posts which we now occupy in the Mediterranean Sea alone. The regiments which defend the remote dependencies of the Crown cannot be duly recruited and relieved, unless a force far larger than that which James collected in the camp at Hounslow for the purpose of overawing his capital be constantly kept up within the kingdom. The old national antipathy to permanent military establishments, an antipathy which was once reasonable and salutary, but which lasted some time after it had become unreasonable and noxious, has gradually yielded to the irresistible force of circumstances. We have made the discovery, that an army may be so constituted as to be in the highest degree efficient against an enemy, and yet obsequious to the civil magistrate. We have long ceased to apprehend danger to law and to freedom from the license of troops, and from the ambition of victorious generals. An alarmist who should now talk such language, as was common five generations ago, who should call for the entire disbanding of the land force; of the realm, and who should gravely predict that the warriors of Inkerman and Delhi would depose the Queen, dissolve the Parliament, and plunder the Bank, would be regarded as fit only for a cell in Saint Luke's. But before the Revolution our ancestors had known a standing army only as an instrument of lawless power. Judging by their own experience, they thought it impossible that such an army should exist without danger to the rights both of the Crown and of the people. One class of politicians was never weary of repeating that an Apostolic Church, a loyal gentry, an ancient nobility, a sainted King, had been foully outraged by the Joyces and the Prides; another class recounted the atrocities committed by the Lambs of Kirke, and by the Beelzebubs and Lucifers of Dundee; and both classes, agreeing in scarcely any thing else, were disposed to agree in aversion to the red coats.

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Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59) was one of the foremost historians of the Whig tradition. This hugely influential five-volume work, published between 1848 and 1861 to great popular acclaim (although it was not without its critics), traces the development of constitutional monarchy between 1685 and 1702.

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Thomas Babington Macaulay
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012)
ISBN 10: 1479244473 ISBN 13: 9781479244478
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 170 pages. 11.00x0.39x8.50 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1479244473

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