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HISTORY OF ENGLAND

FROM 1815

VOL. I.

LOXDOX: PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND 00., NLW-STREET SQUARE

AND PARLIAMENT STREET

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PREFACE.

THESE two volumes form the commencement of a History of England which, it is proposed, should extend from the conclusion of the great European War in 1815 to a very recent time. No other period of English history is of greater interest to the historical student. During the first few years, which succeeded Waterloo, Englishmen enjoyed less real liberty than at any time since the Revolution of 1688. The great majority of the people had no voice in the Legislature. Political power was in the hands of a few fortunate individuals, who were bent on retaining the monopoly which they had secured. The taxpayers were laden with fiscal burdens which were both unequal and ill-devised. Death was the punishment which the law awarded to the gravest and most trivial crimes. The pauper was treated as a criminal, and the administration of the Poor Laws made almost every labourer a pauper. Harsh and oppressive as the laws already were, the oligarchy, by which England was governed, was continually demanding harsher and more oppressive legislation. During the five years which succeeded Waterloo the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended; the liberty of the Press was restricted; the right of public meeting was denied; domiciliary visits in search of arms were allowed. The

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