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By Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Takes many its The abode portions of correspondence with good of which it is the minister. But although they may deny and abjure, they the spirit of are yet compelled to serve that which is seated 2 on the throne of their own soul. And what1 The passage on contemporary English literature from end of the paragraph was used by Shelley this point to the with some verbal alterations in the conclusion of his essay, Defence of Poetry. ) 2 Across the page Shelley has here written the words, A — 30 vi Philosophical View of Reform ever systems they may have professed by support, they actually advance the interests of 1 It is impossible to read the proLiberty.

Causes and conditions immediate system (the of its institution having become obliterated) had degenerated into an instrument not only of oppression but of contumely, and both were unsparingly inflicted. Blind in the possession of strength, drunken as with the intoxication of ancestral greatness, the rulers perceived not that increase of knowledge in the subject which made soldiers to its exercise insecure. hew down the They people called when View of Reform 1 7 power was already past. The tyrants as usual, the aggressors.

After the had of these causes commenced, operations the accession of William III placed a seal upon forty years of Revolution. The government of this country at the Monarchy and Arisperiod of 1688 was regal, tempered by aristotocrac ycracy, for what conditions of democracy attach to an assembly one portion of which was imperfectly nominated by less than a twentieth part of the people, and another perfectly nominated by the nobles ? For the nobility, having by the assistance of the people imposed close limitations upon the royal power, finding that and the people from the increase of their (for people numbers acquired greater and more important rights whilst the organ through which those power to be its natural ally the rights might be asserted grew feebler in proportion to the increase of the cause of those rights and of made their importance) the Crown the its natural enemy, mask and pretence or At this period began own authority.

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