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numerical inferiority, be oppressed for a time by the brute force of baser adversaries; just as, within the limits of a nation, particular classes may be tyrannized over, or opinions which prove in the end true, may be put down by violence, and the professors of such opinions persecuted. But the effort of nature is constantly to redress the balance. Where freedom is so precious that without it life is unendurable, men with those convictions fight too fiercely to be permanently subdued. Truth grows by its own virtue, and falsehood sinks and fades. An oppressed cause, when it is just, attracts friends, and commands moral support, which converts itself sooner or later into material strength. As a broad principle it may be said, that as nature has so constituted us that we must be ruled in some way, and as at any given time the rule inevitably will be in the hands of those who are then the strongest, so nature also has allotted superiority of strength to superiority of intellect and character; and in deciding that the weaker shall obey the more powerful, she is in reality saving them from themselves, and then most confers true liberty when she seems most to be taking it away.
There is no freedom possible to man except in obedience to law; and those who cannot prescribe a law to themselves, if they desire to be free must be content to accept direction from others. The right to resist depends on the power of resistance. A nation which can maintain its independence possesses already, unless assisted by extraordinary advantages of situation, the qualities which conquest can only justify itself by conferring. It may be held to be as good in all essential conditions as the nation which is endeavouring to overcome it; and human society has rather lost than gained
when a people loses its freedom which knows how to make a wholesome use of freedom. But when resistance has been tried and failed—when the inequality has been proved beyond dispute by long and painful experience—the wisdom, and ultimately the duty, of the weaker party is to accept the benefits which are offered in exchange for submission: and a nation which at once will not defend its liberties in the field, nor yet allow itself to be governed, but struggles to preserve the independence which it wants the spirit to uphold in arms by insubordination and anarchy and secret crime, may bewail its wrongs in wild and weeping eloquence in the ears of mankind,—may at length, in a time when the methods by which sterner ages repressed this kind of conduct are unpermitted, make itself so intolerable as to be cast off and bidden go upon its own bad way: but it will not go for its own benefit.
It will have established no principle, and vindicated no natural right. Liberty profits only those who can govern themselves better than others can govern them, and those who are able to govern themselves wisely have no need to petition for a privilege which they can keep or take for themselves.
In the scene before Harfleur, in the play of Henry CHAP. the Fifth, there are introduced representatives of the three nations which remained unsubdued after England was conquered by the Normans, and the co-ordination of which, under a common sovereignty, was a problem still waiting to be accomplished. Careless always of antiquarian pedantry, Shakespeare drew men and women as he saw them round him, in the London of his own day; and Fluellen, Captain Jamie, and Captain Macmorris were the typical Welshman, Scot, and Irishman, as they were to be met with in Elizabeth's trainbands.
Fluellen, hot-blooded, voluble, argumentative, is yet most brave, most loyal, and most honourable. Among his thousand characters there is not one which Shakespeare has sketched more tenderly, or with a more loving and affectionate irony. Captain Jamie is '& marvellous falerous gentleman,' well read in the ancient wars, learned in the disciplines of the Romans,' and able to hold discourse on them with any man, but shrewd and silent, more prone to listen than to speak, more given to blows than to words, and determined only to do good service, or ligge in the ground for it.' Macmorris, though no less brave than his companions, ready to stand in the breach while there were throats to be cut, or work to be done,' yet roars, rants, boasts, swears by his father's soul, and threatens to cut off any
BOOK. man's head who dares to say that he is as good as
Captain Jamie never mentions Scotland: we learn his country from his dialect, and from what others say of him. Fluellen, a Welshman to the last fibre, yet traces his Welsh leek to the good service which Welshmen did, 'in a garden where leeks did grow,' at Crecy, under the English Edward. He delights in thinking that all the waters of the Wye cannot wash his Majesty's Welsh blood out of his body. Macmorris, at the mention of his nation, as if on the watch for insults from Saxon or Briton, blazes into purposeless fury. “My nation! What ish my nation? Is a villain, and a bastard, and a knave, and a rascal ? What ish
What ish my nation? Who talks of
nation?' Had William fallen at Hastings instead of Harold, and had the Norman invasion failed, it is likely that the Lowland Scots would have followed the example of Northumberland, and have drifted gradually into combination with the rest of the island. The Conquest made the difficulty greater; but if the Norman kings had been content to wait for the natural action of time, increasing intercourse and an obvious community of interest would have probably antedated the Union by several centuries. The premature violence of Edward the First hardened Scotland irrecoverably into a separate nationality. The determination to defend their independence created the patriotic virtues which enabled the Northern Britons to hold at bay their larger rival. The Union, when it came about at last, was effected on equal terms. Two separate self-governed peoples entered slowly and deliberately into voluntary partnership on terms
of mutual respect. The material wealth which Scotland contributed to the empire was comparatively insignificant; but she introduced into it a race of men who had been hammered to a temper which made them more valuable than mountains of gold; and among the elements of greatness in the country known to later history as Great Britain, the rugged Scotch resolution to resist conquest to the death, tried in a hundred battles, holds a place second to none.
The Lowland Scots were Teutons; the language of the Lothians was not distinguishable from the language of Northumberland ; and the Union with Scotland might have seemed so far an easier feat than the Union with Wales. On the other hand, the Welsh were fewer in number, less protected by situation, less able to obtain help from other quarters. They were neither slaves nor cowards. They loved their freedom, they fought for it long and desperately, rising again and again when civil wars in England offered them a gleam of hope. When resistance became obviously hopeless, they loyally and wisely accepted their fate. They had not to suffer from prolonged severity, for severity was unnecessary. There was no general confiscation, no violent interference with local habits or usages. They preserved their language with singular success, and their customs so far as their customs were compatible with English law ; while in exchange for independence they were admitted to the privileges of English citizenship in as full measure as the English themselves. They continued proud of their nationality, vain with true Celtic vanity of pedigrees which lose themselves in infinity. Yet, being wisely handled, restrained only in essentials, and left to their own