Sunday, 19 February 2012

The view from two centuries ago.

Union Jock recently received a present of An Abridgement of the History of Scotland from the Death of Alexander III to the Union of the Two Kingdoms under Queen Anne, published in 1805. Naturally, he was curious to find out how the Union of the Parliaments had been presented, less than a century after it actually occurred. Skipping, therefore, to the end of the book, this is what it had to say on the subject:
The experience of a century of increasing prosperity supersedes any eulogium on the firmness and political sagacity of the men who planned and accomplished the Union; the pride of national independence has been cheaply exchanged for opulence and security; and the mind contemplates with satisfaction prejudices obliterated, the spirit of rivalship extinguished, and cordiality and confidence taking place of the rancour of hostility and mutual aggression. Divided, Great Britain might have fallen a prey to her more powerful neighbours; united, she holds a high and dignified place among the nations, and bids defiance to the threats and exterminating designs of the half of Europe.
Concordia parvæ res crescunt, discordia maximæ dilabuntur.
[By concord, small things grow, by discord, the greatest fall into ruin. Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-34 BC) in Bellum Iugurthinum Ch. X.]

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