« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
fore us, let us pause here for a moment, and talk a little about this quality of avarice which so tarnished the brilliancy of Marlborough's fame. You see how early the love of money appeared in him, and how, in after years, it increased, until it led to actual dishonesty. You have not forgotten, I hope, another instance of a great public character, whose reputation suffered from a cause very similar to that of the case we are now speaking of,—I mean Lord Bacon. This quality of avarice is, unhappily, a very common one.
It pervades all classes, and is found in persons of all ages, and therefore we should guard carefully against any approach in ourselves to a vice so mean, as well as so wicked. And it is important too to guard against it in early life. The child who loves to get and to hoard money, instead of expending it wisely in what is good and useful to himself or others, will assuredly grow up an avaricious, a selfish, perhaps even a dishonest man, unless the habit be carefully checked, and the natural disposition counteracted. Such a child should be taught, from experience, the pleasure of generosity; and when once he has learnt this, he will desire no more to lay up money in a box,—there to remain and to increase, but to do good to
No, he will take care of his money indeed; but it will not always remain in the box. It will be taken out, and applied to some useful purpose : for that child will remember that money is one of the talents entrusted to us by God; and that whether we have much or little, He will call us to account for the use we make of it. Do you recollect what is said in the Bible about this ? "Charge them who are rich in this world, that they be ready to give, and glad to distribute.” And even if we have but little, we are gladly “to give of that little.”—But we must return to the affairs of Queen Anne's reign.
I must not forget to mention, that a very valuable possession came into the hands of the English about this time. This was Gibraltar. If you look at the situation of Gibraltar in the map of Europe, you will find out the importance of that acquisition. It is just at the entrance of the Mediterranean sea ; so that the possession of the fortress gives us the power of watching every vessel that enters or passes through the straits, and this is a great advantage in times both of war and peace. Gibraltar was taken by Sir George Rooke.
You see that in this reign, the English had great success on land; but they were not quite so successful at sea. One unfortunate defeat took place near the West Indies, while contending with the French. The English fleet was commanded on that occasion by a brave man named Admiral Benbow. Notwithstanding his own bravery, however, he suffered defeat from the bad conduct of some of his officers, who left him to fight almost alone. Still he continued to use all his efforts against the enemy; and even the loss of a leg by a cannon ball, did not prevent him from continuing to give his orders, as he lay wounded on the deck of his vessel. At last, the only ship that remained to him, was almost shattered to pieces, and then further resistance seemed impossible. The defeat grieved Benbow much more than his bodily sufferings could do. When one of his lieutenants sympathized with him on the loss of his limb, he said, “I am sorry for it; but I had rather have lost both my legs, than have seen the disgrace of this day. But do you hear ? If another shot should take me off, do
behave like men, and fight it out." The brave Admiral did not long survive his disasters. He died of his wounds soon after, and the officers who had so basely deserted him, were, on their return, tried, and sentenced to be shot, by a court martial.
But the chief event in Anne's reign was the union of England and Scotland. You know that, from the accession of James I, these two countries had been ruled by one Sovereign ; but still they continued to have different Par
liaments, and the Scotch frequently complained that they did not enjoy equal privileges with the English. They grew discontented, and even threatened that they would not subunit to another English Soveriegn, unless these grievances were redressed. It was feared that a rebellion might take place, and that the son of James II, who was now called the Pretender, because he made pretensions to the throne, would be made king of Scotland; and therefore, to prevent all this, it was judged expedient to effect a union of the two countries. By the treaty formed at this Union, it was declared, that the Scotch should retain their own laws, and their own mode of worship; and that they should send a certain number of members to Parliament, both to the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. There was a good deal of deliberation before the matter could be finally settled ; but at last the treaty was made, and both countries have fonnd the benefit of this Union.
The reign of Anne did not pass without some vexations and troubles, both as regarded herself and her country. The loss of several children, particularly of a son eleven years of age, and then of her husband, Prince George, occasioned her deep grief; and besides these family afflictions, the constant disputes going on between the Whig and Tory parties, preyed
upon her mind, and she sunk into a state of ill health, which terminated in death, after a reign of twelve years. She left no children; and therefore, in accordance with the act of settlement passed in the reign of William III, the crown now passed to the next Protestant heir ; and this was George, the Elector of Hanover and Brunswick. His mother was Sophia, daughter of the Elector Palatine, who, you remember, had married the princess Elizabeth, James I's daughter. George, therefore, was the great-grandson of that king; and he had succeeded to the titles of his father Ernest Augustus, Duke of Hanover, and Elector of Brunswick.
But before we commence this new line of kings, and begin to talk of the events of the reign of George I, let us look again at the verses which head our chapter. They speak of the lives of great men, and of the use which ought to be made of them in the way of instruction and example. Now the reigns of William III, and of Anne, were remarkable for the number of distinguished men who then lived and flourished,—the honour and the ornament of their age. Statesmen and warriors, men of literature and science, poets and philosophers, and writers on all kinds of subjects,
-these were so numerous, that I cannot tell you even the mere names of one half of them.