repaid if we review, for a brief space, the changes that were taking place in the attitude of mind—if I may so express it—of the times; and if we notice, as clearly as we can, the type of patron to whom the furnisher had to look for his support. We may thus account in some measure for the steady growth of that spirit of refinement which then characterised our household gods, and reached its zenith at the close of the century the earlier years of which included the reign of Anne.
What, in the first place, were the political conditions of the times in relation to the cultivation of the arts ? Were they favourable or otherwise ? Let us see.
So far as national affairs were concerned, Queen Anne had cause to be thankful enough. The country was practically at peace, and such disturbances, slight or otherwise, as occurred might with confidence be left for settlement in the hands of the hero of Maestricht, Blenheim, Ramilies, and Mai-plaquet. "Mrs. Morley" could write her historic letters in peace to " Mrs. Freeman " ; " The Family " were looking after the affairs of state—and themselves at the same time ; and, at last, the cultivation of the graces of life commenced to supersede the spirit of militarism which had for so long kept them in abeyance. Apostles of those graces, too, were coming to the fore on every hand, and, furthermore, their genius was not only encouraged by public approbation, but won the appreciation, and, of greater importance to them, the financial support, of the State. It is both curious and interesting to recall the personnel of many of the public departments of those days. What we find there is most significant; it indicates clearly that men who attained to greatness in art, science, or literature were deemed worthy of their salt, and, as I have said, that something besides martial conquest occupied the thoughts of those who were placed at the head of affairs. A few illustrations of this will help us to form in our own minds a more complete conception of the times which are now our
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