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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 277 pages of information about Essays in Rebellion.

“The next bill he proposed to introduce related to a part of the punishment for the crime of high treason, which was not at present carried into execution.  The sentence for this crime, however, was, that the criminal should be dragged upon a hurdle to the place of execution, that he should be hanged by the neck, but cut down before he was dead, that his bowels should then be taken out and burnt before his face.  As to that part of the sentence which relates to embowelling, it was never executed now, but this omission was owing to accident, or to the mercy of the executioner, not to the discretion of the judge.

“The Solicitor-General stated general objections to the plan of his learned friend.

“Leave was given to bring in the bills.”]

[Footnote 2:  See The History of Tyburn, by Alfred Marks.]

[Footnote 3:  History of the Criminal Law of England, vol. i. p. 478.]

[Footnote 4:  Judith was not strictly a rebel, except that Nabuchodonosor claimed sovereignty over all the world and was avenging himself on all the earth.  See Judith ii. 1.]

[Footnote 5:  Hebrews xi. 35-38.]

[Footnote 6:  The Crisis of Liberalism, by J.A.  Hobson, p. 82.]

III

“EITHER COWARDS OR UNHAPPY”

Present grandeur is always hard to realise.  The past and the distant are easily perceived.  Like a far-off mountain, their glory is conspicuous, and the iridescent vapours of romance quickly gather round it.  The main outline of a distant peak is clear, for rival heights are plainly surpassed, and sordid details, being invisible, cannot detract from it or confuse.  The comfortable spectator may contemplate it in peace.  It does not exact from him quick decisions or disquieting activity.  The storms that sweep over it contribute to his admiration without wetting his feet, and his high estimate of its beauty and greatness may be enjoyed without apprehension of an avalanche.  So the historian is like a picturesque spectator cultivating his sense of the sublime upon a distant prospect of the Himalayas.  It is easy for him to admire, and the appreciation of a far-off heroic movement gives him quite a pleasant time.  At his leisure he may descant with enthusiasm upon the forlorn courage of sacrificed patriots, and hymn, amidst general applause, the battles of freedom long since lost or won.

But in the thick of present life it is different.  The air is obscured by murky doubt, and unaccustomed shapes stand along the path, indistinguishable under the light malign.  Uncertain hope scarcely glimmers, nor can the termination of the struggle be divined.  Tranquillity, giving time for thought, and the security that leaves the judgment clear, have both gone, and may never return.  The ears are haunted with the laughter of vulgarity, and the judicious discouragement of prudence.  Is there not as much to be said for

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