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The History of England, from the Accession of James II - Volume 5

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Book Overview: 

his is volume 5 of a series of books written by the Baron Macaulay (1800-1859) 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.

Chapter 24 - Chapter 24 begins with the change in parliament with the 1698 elections. The death of the Electoral Prince of Bavaria obviates the first partition treaty and William and Lewis must try again. A good telling to the Darien bubble.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Eastern seas exerted themselves at this conjuncture more strenuously than ever, and found a powerful patron in Montague.

That dexterous and eloquent statesman had two objects in view. One was to obtain for the State, as the price of the monopoly, a sum much larger than the Old Company was able to give. The other was to promote the interest of his own party. Nowhere was the conflict between Whigs and Tories sharper than in the City of London; and the influence of the City of London was felt to the remotest corner of the realm. To elevate the Whig section of that mighty commercial aristocracy which congregated under the arches of the Royal Exchange, and to depress the Tory section, had long been one of Montague's favourite schemes. He had already formed one citadel in the heart of that great emporium; and he now thought that it might be in his power to erect and garrison a second stronghold in a position scarcely less commanding. It had often been said, in times . . . 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,