The Ancien Regime

The Ancien Regime

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The Ancien Regime by Charles Kingsley

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1867

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The Ancien Regime

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Book Excerpt

become more homogeneous than any nation of the Continent, if we except France since the extermination of the Frankish nobility. And for that very reason, as it seems to me, it is more fitted than any other European nation for the exercise of equal political rights; and not to be debarred of them by arguments drawn from countries which have been governed--as England has not been--by a caste.

The civilisation, not of mere book-learning, but of the heart; all that was once meant by "manners"--good breeding, high feeling, respect for self and respect for others--are just as common (as far as I have seen) among the hand-workers of England and Scotland, as among any other class; the only difference is, that these qualities develop more early in the richer classes, owing to that severe discipline of our public schools, which makes mere lads often fit to govern, because they have learnt to obey: while they develop later- -generally not till middle age--in the classes who have not gone through in their youth t

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