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WHEN GEORGE THE THIRD WAS
KING.

IN the second volumejust publishedof
Mr. Massey's well-planned History of
England during the reign of George the Third,
there is a chapter upon English manners in
the young days of that king which brings
together very cleverly a good many interesting
details, and which we must needs rifle of
some of its contents. The judicious critic
will say that the chapter is not fair, that it
tells all the evil of this portion of our good
old times, and omits compensating details.
Very trueso be it. The author's reply to
the judicious critic doubtless would be, that
he tells of no exceptional misdeeds or
shortcomings: he tells of what our forefathers did
as a community. A terrible picture of our
own day might be drawn from the criminal
reports, and if Mr. Massey's account of the
early days of George the Third came from
such sources, we certainly could match it in
the year one thousand eight hundred and
fifty-eight. But the contrast is fairly
provoked, and it comes strongly in aid of our
old doctrine, that bad as society may be now, it
has been worse and is becoming better: that
our duty is not to deplore the past, but to
apply all energy to the securing of a noble
future.

Great scandal is caused now-a-days in the
church by excess of zeal. But, in the early
days of George the Third, scandal arose from
excess of infidelity. The supple family parson
with his bottle and his pack of cardsthe
Reverend Mr. Sampson, whose acquaintance
we are now making in Mr. Thackeray's
Virginiansbelongs to the past days of which
we speak. Family livings still exist; but they
are not given to secure bread to the family
fool, to the disreputable dependant of a dissolute
patron, to the son of a jobbing attorney
in part payment for service done, or to clients
found in the worst company. The greater
proportion of the livings were, in the time
of which we speak, thus filled. Of the
remainder, a large part were in the hands of
gentlemen indeed, but of gentlemen who
frequented fashionable assemblies, sauntered at
watering-places, or haunted the levees of
great men. A clergyman who did not chase
the fox, was commonly a hunter for preferment;
and, with that view, would accompany
the young heir on the grand tour, nominally
as a preceptor, really as a servile companion.
Or he would write pamphlets and paragraphs
for hts employer, give his clerical influence
in his own parish at elections, even become
the distributor of bribes. Such men obtained
stalls, deaneries, and bishoprics; and, by their
morals, cast discredit on the church. All
this lay at the root of that indifference to
religion which pervaded " good" society.
Religious observances were openly derided, and
no man who dreaded ridicule would venture,
in polite company, to show any respect for
sacred things.

State patronage was in the king's hands;
and the royal powereven perhaps the
Protestant successionwas maintained only by
the use or abuse of it. Sir Robert Walpole
was the first who systematically carried on
the king's government by means of
parliamentary corruption. He troubled himself
littlewrites Mr. Masseyabout any niceties
or intricacies of management, but went
straight to the point. He bought the member
with a place; or, if he only wanted a vote,
he bought it with money taken from the
secret-service fund. The Duke of Newcastle
extended and organised the system so
successfully, that by its operation alone, in the
absence of every other qualification for power,
he became, for some years, the dictator of the
administration. His plan was to buy up the
small constituencies. At one time he was
said to have farmed, in this manner, one
third of the House of Commons.

The beau of the time of Anne and of the
Hanover succession was painted and perfumed
like a woman. He took woman's time over
his toilet, wore silks, brocades, lace,
embroidery, and jewels. He seldom stirred
abroad on foot except for a turn in the Mall;
and, if he had only to cross the street from
his lodging to a tavern, he was conveyed in
a chair. His time, away from home, was
spent in gallantry and gaming. He read
plays, novels, lampoons and tracts in ridicule
of religion, and condemned educated men as
prigs and pedants. The men of fashion who
were men of wit, however high their ambition,
usually looked low for their pleasure.
When vindictive enemies sought for whatever
charges could discredit Sir Robert Walpole,
not a voice urged against the minister the

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