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diminished vigor when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.
We often hear it said, that the world is constantly becoming more and more enlightened ; and that this enlightening must be favorable to Protestantism, and unfavorable to Catholicism. We wish that we could think so. But we see great reason to doubt whether this be a well-founded expectation. We see that during the last two hundred and fifty years, the human mind has been in the highest degree active—that it has made great advances in every branch of natural philosophythat it has produced innumerable inventions tending to promote the convenience of life—that medicine, surgery, chemistry, engineering, have been very greatly improved—that government, police, and law have been improved, though not quite to the same extent. Yet we see that during these two hundred and fifty years, Protestantism has made no conquests worth speaking of. Nay, we believe that as far as there has been a change, that ch nge has been in favor of the Church of Rome.
LORD MACAULAY, Essays, Critical and Miscellaneous. THE POPULATION, WEALTH, POWER,
FREEDOM, AND PLENTY OF ENG-
KENSINGTON, 31st March, 1826. MY FRIENDS :--This Letter is to conclude my task, which task was to make good this assertion, that the event called the “Reformation” had impoverished and degraded the main body of the people of England and Ireland. In paragraph 4, I told you, that a fair and honest inquiry would teach us, that the word “Reformation” had, in this case, been misapplied ; that there was a change, but a change greatly for the worse ; that the thing, called the Reformation, was engendered in beastly lust, brought forth in hypocrisy and perfidy, and cherished and fed by plunder, devastation, and by rivers of innocent English and Irish blood ; and that, as to its more remote consequences, they are, some of them, now before us, in that misery, that beggary, that nakedness, that hunger, that everlasting wrangling and spite, which now stare us in 15*
the face and stun our ears at every turn, and which the “ Reformation ” has given us in exchange for the ease and happiness and harmony and Christian charity, enjoyed so abundantly, and for so many ages, by our Catholic forefathers.
All this has been amply proved in the fifteen foregoing Letters, except that I have not yet shown, in detail, how our Catholic forefathers lived, what sort and what quantity of food and raiment they had, compared with those which we have. This I am now about to do. I have made good my charge of beastly lust, hypocrisy, perfidy, plunder, devastation, and bloodshed; the charge of misery, of beggary, of nakedness, and of hunger, remains to be fully established.
But I choose to be better rather than worse than my word; I did not pledge myself to prove anything as to the population, wealth, power, and freedom of the nation; but I will now show not only that the people were better off, but better fed and clad, before the “Reformation ” than they ever have been since; but, that the nation was more populous, wealthy, powerful, and free before, than it ever has been since that event. Read modern romancers, called historians, every one of whom has written for place or pension ; read the statements about the superiority of the present over former times ; about our prodigious increase in population, wealth, power, and, above all things, our superior freedom; read the monstrous lies of Hume, who (vol. 5, p. 502) unblushingly asserts “that one good county of England is now capable of making a greater effort than the whole kingdom was in the reign of Henry V., when to maintain the garrison of the small town of Calais required more than a third of the ordinary revenues "; this is the way in which every Scotchman reasons.
He always estimates the wealth of a nation by the money the government squeezes out of it. He forgets that “a poor government makes a rich people.” According to this criterion of Hume, America must now be a wretchedly poor country. This same Henry V. could conquer, really conquer, France, and that, too, without beggaring England by hiring a million of Prussians, Austrians, Cossacks, and all sorts of hirelings. But writers have, for ages, been so dependent on the government and the aristocracy, and the people have read and believed so much of what they have said, and especially in praise of the “Reformation,” and its effects, that it is no wonder that they should think that, in Catholic times, England was a poor, beggarly spot, having a very few people on it; and that the "Reformation," and the House of Brunswick and the Whigs, have given us all we possess of wealth, of power, of freedom, and have almost created us, or, at least, if not actually begotten us, caused nine-tenths of us to be born. These are all monstrous lies ; but they have succeeded for ages. Few men dared to attempt to refute them ; and, if any one made the attempt, he obtained few hearers, and ruin, in some shape or other, was pretty sure . to be the reward of his virtuous efforts. Now, however, when we are smarting under the lash of calamity; now, when every one says, that no state of things ever was so bad as this; now men may listen to the truth, and, therefore, I will lay it before them.
POPULOUSNESS is a thing not to be proved by positive facts, because there are no records of the numbers of the people in former times ; and because those which we have in our own day are notoriously false ; if they be not, the English nation has added a third to its population during the last twenty years! In short, our modern records I have, over and over again, proved to be false, particularly in my Register, No. 2, of Volume 46. That England was more populous in Catholic times than it is now we must believe, when we know, that in the three first Protestant reigns, thousands of parish churches were pulled