Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: Ill GEORGE CANNING AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS [george Canning, born, London, April 11,1770; died, London, August 8, 1827; educated at Eton and Oxford; Member of Parliament, 1793; 1797, editor of Anti-Jacobin periodical; 1807-09, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; 1809, duel with Castle- reagh; 1814-16, Ambassador at Lisbon; 1817-20, President of India Board; 1822, appointed Governor-General of India; 1822-27, Minister for Foreign Affairs; 1827, Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. Buried in Westminster Abbey.] During the first twenty years of the nineteenth century Great Britain, though possessing the most liberal constitution of any of the powers, was the consistent ally of the absolute monarchies of Europe. Strange as the situation at first appears, it is not difficult to trace the causes which produced it. For the explanation of most of the phenomena of European history in the first half of the century the student must turn back to the French Revolution. The social and political ideas which were at the bottom of that great upheaval were in part suggested by the success of free institutions in constitutional England, where parliamentary government had been highly developed while France lay bound by her Bourbon despots. A large body of Englishmen numbering some of the greatest names in politics and literature sympathized deeply with the earlier manifestations of the revolutionary spirit. " Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven" sang Wordsworth, whose youthful enthusiasm over that dawn was soon chilled by the crimes which were committed in the name of Liberty—the slaughter of the royal pair, the reign of the guillotine, and the enthronement of reason in the place of God. The tide of opinion in England was turned by these scenes o...
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