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Leven and Melville Papers: Letters and State Papers Chiefly Addressed to George Earl of Melville, Secretary of State for Scotland, 1689-1691 (Clas

ISBN: 9781331467281
Publisher: Forgotten Books
Publication Date: 2015-09-27
Number of pages: 758
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Excerpt from Leven and Melville Papers: Letters and State Papers Chiefly Addressed to George Earl of Melville, Secretary of State for Scotland, 1689-1691

The Revolution of 1688 is the most important event in the Civil History of Great Britain. The moderation and wisdom displayed by the leaders entrusted with the National Councils, at a period of great excitement, and the consequent durability of the changes then effected, afford an example deserving of the most attentive study. The Revolution has not, perhaps, substituted any very sound or intelligible principle in lieu of the notion of divine, hereditary, or indefeasible right, which was so long cherished by our Kings, and which perplexed and divided the people, but it practically established our institutions on a basis, which has proved at once favourable to liberty and order, and acceptable to the great majority of the nation. During the succeeding century and a half, amidst all the errors and follies, committed alike by our rulers and by the people, for how large a portion of the substantial blessings of good government have we not reason to be thankful!

In Scotland particularly, the great principle of governing with a direct view to the benefit of the people, was first distinctly acted upon at this great epoch, and one of the worst irresponsible governments 1 which has disgraced modern times, was for ever put an end to.2 But while the tyranny of the Stuarts in Scotland, was by far more searching and bloody than any they ventured upon in England, they possessed more numerous, more powerful, and more devoted adherents in their ancient hereditary kingdom. The Revolution in England was brought about by a coalition of Whig and Tory, Aristocracy and People, Churchmen and Dissenters, uniting against an odious, distrusted, and feeble government.

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