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The History of England, from the Accession of James II - Volume 4

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Book Overview: 

his is volume 4 of a series of books written by the Baron Macaulay in the 19th century. It starts with a brief resume of the history of England up until the Stuart kings and then starts to delve into a little more detail. Macaulay is primarily fascinated by ending of any claim to divine right of kings and the growing role of Parliament in the governing of the country. He sees the accession of William and Mary (Dutch, Protestant royalty) to the British throne as a key moment in the history of the British Isles. This is a book delightful for the literary gifts of the author and intriguing for his view of 18th century English and world politics.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . with the way in which he had been represented in the Parliament House. He thought that the rabbled curates had been hardly treated. He had very reluctantly suffered the law which abolished patronage to be touched with his sceptre. But what especially displeased him was that the Acts which established a new ecclesiastical polity had not been accompanied by an Act granting liberty of conscience to those who were attached to the old ecclesiastical polity. He had directed his Commissioner Melville to obtain for the Episcopalians of Scotland an indulgence similar to that which Dissenters enjoyed in England. 203 But the Presbyterian preachers were loud and vehement against lenity to Amalekites. Melville, with useful talents, and perhaps with fair intentions, had neither large views nor an intrepid spirit. He shrank from uttering a word so hateful to the theological demagogues of his country as Toleration. By obsequiously humouring their prejudices he quelled the clamour which . . . Read More

Community Reviews

The rise and fall of James II, as Macaulay tells it, has the weight of a tragedy, except nobody has to die. I think Macaulay is right in speaking of it as very much to the credit of the English nation.

The second volume of the work deals in great detail with the three year reign of James II and ends with his ouster at the hands of William and Mary. Much effort is spent to convince the reader of James' tyrannical intentions and thereby establish the legitimacy of William and Mary's revolution. The

Easily one of the best history books I've ever read -- Macaulay's History of England isn't only useful to Americans for understanding the development of our civil rights, but a masterpiece of literature and an exciting read to boot. The last chapter on struggles with Ireland was especially relevant,