Page:The imperial peace; an ideal in European history.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The Imperial Peace

struggling to preserve a nationality, which the 'Hammer of the Scots' would have probably annihilated, rather than developed; and the nation would have been united only at the sacrifice of one stubborn and therefore useful element. The separatists and 'patriots' who resisted him and overcame his son were narrower in their aims, while he had the Imperial outlook. Yet, after all, a true instinct recognizes in their policy the creation of the Scottish nationality, and reverences them as having contributed to the making of a greater Britain.

In 1603 the process was nominally completed; but the unity that resulted was more dynastic than real: there was no common feeling or patriotism. The process was made possible by religious causes: the forces of Protestantism were strong enough to compel a union of the two kingdoms, and the English hatred felt for the Catholic countries carried wide support even among the English Catholics. But religion has never had such a hold on men of Western Europe as to make men into a nation and to dominate their hearts and overbear the other causes that work on them. The two peoples remained in heart and ideals almost as diverse as before. Nor did the closer union through the amalgamation of the Parliaments in 1707 produce a real unity. It was a political device; but it did not remould the hearts of men.

The career of the energetic and hungry young Scots, still lay outside the British Empire. Their own country was too poor, and too little used for the good of man, to give an outlet or offer a reward for their energies. In earlier time they had flocked in thousands to the service of France, and in the seventeenth century they sought a career, the Catholic families in the Catholic countries, the Protestant families with the Protestant leaders, of Central and Western Europe and in Sweden; in the