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the duchess of Cleveland to his protection ; and spoke warmly in favour of the duchess CHARLES of Portsmouth, who might, he feared, on account of her political conduct, incur the II. resentment of his successor, Thus the night passed away. In the morning he lost the faculty of speech; and about noon calmly expired.

“In person Charles was tall and well-proportioned, his complexion swarthy, his features singularly austere and forbidding. He inherited from his father a sound and robust constitution, which in his youth he had impaired by indulgence, and afterwards laboured to restore by attention to diet and exercise. In health he was wont to purchase, at exorbitant prices, the secrets of empirics ; but in sickness his good sense taught him to rely on the skill of his physicians.

The disposition of his mind presented an extraordinary contrast to the harsh and repulsive lines traced on his countenance. He was kind, familiar, communicative. He delighted in social converse, narrated with infinite humour, and, as he was the first to seize and expose what might be ridiculous in others, so he never refused to join in the laugh when it was raised at his own expense. Parade and ceremony he held in aversion. To act the part of a king, was to him a tiresome and odious task; and he would gladly burst from the trainmels of official greatness, that he might escape to the ease and comfort of colloquial familiarity.

“ With talents, said to be of the highest order, he joined an insuperable antipathy to application; whence it happened, that to the scanty stock of knowledge, which he acquired in his youthful days, he made but few additions in a more advanced age. He sought amusement, and displayed taste in planting, gardening, and building: sometimes solicitude for his health led him to attend anatomical dissections, and sometimes a spirit of curiosity engaged him in chemical experiments : but the subject of his favourite study, if study it may be called, was naval architecture; in which he had the credit, not only of being a proficient, but of having made some valuable improvements.

“ Impatient of trouble, and fearful of opposition, he looked upon the practice of dissimulation as the grand secret in the art of reigning. A king, he argued, was surrounded by men, who made it their object, as it was their interest, to deceive him. His only protection consisted in the employment of the same weapon : it was necessary for him to deceive, that he might not be deceived. But Charles practised this doctrine to an extent which marred his own purpose. Experience taught others to disbelieve him as much as he di: believed them. They distrusted his most solemn promises and asseverations; they paid no attention to his words, but studied his looks to ascertain his real meaning; and the result repeatedly proved that in seeking to impose on others he had in reality imposed on no one but himself.

“ From the commencement to the close of his reign he was the slave of women : but though he tolerated their caprice, though he submitted to their intrigues, he was neither jealous nor fastidious, freely allowing to them that latitude of indulgence which he claimed to himself. His example in this respect exercised the most pernicious influence on the morals of the higher classes of his subjects. His court became a school of vice, in which the restraints of decency were laughed to scorn, and the distinctions which he lavished on his mistresses, with the bold front which he enabled them to put on their infamy, held out an encouragement to crime, and tended to sap in youthful breasts those principles of modesty which are the best guardians of female virtue. There may have been other periods of our history in which immorality prevailed; but none in which it was practised with more ostentation, or brought with it less disgrace.

“ Of his pecuniary transactions with the king of France, no Englishman can think without feelings of shame, or speak but in the language of reprobation. He may have attempted to justify them to his own conscience; he may have persuaded himself that he only took the money of another for doing that which it was his own duty to do : but it is plain that from the moment in which he became a pensioner, he ceased to be an independent agent. The possession or forfeiture of a considerable income must necessarily have had great weight in the deliberations of a needy and prodigal monarch. But this was not an age of public virtue. We shall look for it in vain either in the sovereign, or in the patriots who opposed him. Both sacrificed at the shrine of the same idol their own interest.

SAN- “ It was the persuasion of Charles that his political adversaries sought the re-estaCROFT, blishment of a commonwealth, theirs that he cherished designs subversive of the liberAbp. Cant.

ties of the subject. These jealousies, founded perhaps in prejudice more than in truth, produced their natural effect. They led each party to the adoption of measures which it was not easy to justify : they provoked on the one side the extortion of charters, forced constructions of law, and unwarrantable severity of judgment from the bench, and on the other, the false and factious votes of the house of commons, the arbitrary arrests of the individuals called abhorrers, and the disgraceful proceedings arising out of the imposture of Titus Oates. As far as regards despotic power, whatever might have been the inclination of Charles, he certainly was not the man to win it by force. To a prince of his indolent disposition, and attached so much to his own ease, the acquisition would not appear worth the trouble and the risk of the attempt. We are told by one who knew him well, by Barillon in a confidential dispatch to Louis XIV., that “he viewed such plans with reluctance; that he cared not much for additional authority ; and that in reality his wish was to live at ease, and to improve his revenue.'

“ With respect to his religion, if we believe two noble writers who were much in his company, the marquess of Halifax, and Sheffield, duke of Buckingham, he was in fact a deist; while others have represented him as a most accomplished hypocrite, who bad embraced the Catholic worship before the Restoration, and yet for five-and-twenty years held himself out to his subjects as an orthodox Protestant. Each of these assertions is incorrect. Charles never abandoned the belief of Christianity, nor was he ever reconciled to the Church of Rome before the eve of his death. If we compare his proceedings in consequence of the secret treaty of 1670, with his subsequent conduct in relation to bis brother, whom he sought, with the aid of the bishops, to recall within the pale of the establishment, and in relation to his nieces, whom he took from their father that they might be educated in the Protestant faith, and whom he married to Protestants that he might secure a succession of Protestant princes, we shall perhaps come to the concluşion, that for the greater part of his reign he looked on religion as a political question, and cared little to which of the two Churches he might belong. It is true that afterwards, in 1683, he gave to the subject more attentive deliberation : yet even then he did no more than deliberate, and never came to a decision till he learned from his physicians that in a few hours he would cease to live.

“ In conclusion, it may be proper to remark, that during his reign the arts improved, trade met with encouragement, and the wealth and comforts of the people increased. To this flourishing state of the nation we must attribute the acknowledged fact, that, whatever were the personal failings or vices of the king, he never forfeited the love of his subjects. Men are always ready to idolize the sovereign under whose sway they feel themselves happy.

“ Charles left no issue by his queen, Catherine of Portugal. Of his illegitimate children he acknowledged James, duke of Monmouth, by Lucy Walters ; Charlotte, countess of Yarmouth, by lady Shanon; Charles, duke of Southampton, Henry, duke of Grafton, George, duke of Northumberland, and Charlotte, countess of Lichfield, by the duchess of Cleveland ; Charles, duke of St. Albans, by Eleanor Gwynne; Charles, duke of Richmond, by the duchess of Portsmouth; and Mary, countess of Derwentwater, by Mary Davies.”

We refer to Hume, giving his character of Charles ; at the same time reminding the reader how able an advocate he is; and how partial, in spite of himself, to the Stuarts:

“ If we survey the character of Charles II., in the different lights which it will admit of, it will appear various, and give rise to different, and even opposite sentiments : when considered as a companion, he appears as the most amiable and engaging of men; and indeed, in this view, his deportment must be allowed altogether unexceptionable : his love of raillery was so tempered with good breeding, that it was never offensive : his propensity to satire was so checked with discretion, that his friends never dreaded their becoming the object of it: his wit, to use the expression of one who knew him well, and who was himself a good judge, could not be said so much to be very refined or elevated, qualities apt to beget jealousy and apprehension in company, as to be a plain, gaining, well-bred, recommending kind of wit : and though perhaps he talked more than strict CHARLES rules of behaviour might permit; men were so pleased with the affable, communicative II. deportment of the monarch, that they always went away contented both with him and with themselves. This indeed is the most shining part of the king's character ; and he seems to have been sensible of it: for he was fond of dropping the formality of state, and of relapsing every moment into the companion.

“ In the duties of private life, his conduct, though not free from exception, was, in the main, laudable; he was an easy, generous lover, a civil, obliging husband, a friendly brother, an indulgent father, and a good-natured master : the voluntary friendships, however, which this prince contracted, nay, even his sense of gratitude, were feeble; and he never attached himself to any of his ministers or courtiers with a sincere affection : he believed them to have no motive in serving him but self-interest; and he was still ready, in his turn, to sacrifice them to present ease or convenience.

“ With a detail of his private character we must set bounds to our panegyric on Charles : the other parts of his conduct may admit of some apology, but can deserve small applause. He was indeed so much fitted for private life preferably to public, that he even possessed order, frugality, and economy in the former; was profuse, thoughtless, and negligent in the latter. When we consider him as a sovereign, his character, though not altogether destitute of virtue, was in the main dangerous to his people, and dishonourable to himself: negligent of the interests of the nation, careless of its glory, averse to its religion, jealous of its liberty, lavish of its treasure, sparing only of its blood; he exposed it by his measures, though he ever appeared but in sport, to the danger of a furious civil war, and even to the ruin and ignominy of a foreign conquest : yet may all these enormities, if fairly and candidly examined, be imputed in a great measure to the indolence of his temper :-a fault which, however unfortunate in a monarch, it is impossible for us to regard with great severity.

“ It has been remarked of Charles, that he never said a foolish thing nor did a wise one ;-a censure which, though too far carried, seems to have some foundation in his character and deportment. When the king was informed of this saying, he observed,

that the matter was easily accounted for; for that his discourse was his own, his actions were the ministry's.'

“ If we reflect on the appetite for power inherent in human nature, and add to it the king's education in foreign countries and among the cavaliers-a party which would naturally exaggerate the late usurpations of popular assemblies on the rights of monarchy—it is not surprising that civil liberty should not find in him a very zealous patron. Harassed with domestic faction, weary of calumnies and complaints, oppressed with debts, straitened in his revenue, he sought, though with feeble efforts, for a form of government more simple in its structure and more easy in its management: but bis attachment to France, after all the pains which we have taken by inquiry and conjecture to fathom it, contains still something, it must be confessed, mysterious and inexplicable. The hopes of rendering himself absolute by Louis's assistance seem so chimerical, that they could scarcely be retained with such obstinacy by a prince of Charles's penetration : and as to pecuniary subsidies, he surely spent much greater sums in one season, during the second Dutch war, than were remitted him from France during the whole course of his reign : we are apt therefore to imagine, that Charles was in this particular guided chiefly by inclination, and by a prepossession in favour of the French nation : he considered that people as gay, sprightly, polite, elegant, courteous, devoted to their prince, and attached to the Catholic faith; and for these reasons he cordially loved them: the opposite character of the Dutch had rendered them the objects of his aversion; and even the uncourtly humours of the English made him very indifferent towards them. Our notions of interest are much warped by our affections; and it is not altogether without example, that a man may be guided by national prejudices, who has ever been little biassed by private and personal friendship.

“ The character of this prince has been elaborately drawn by two great masters, perfectly well acquainted with him, the duke of Buckingham and the marquess of Halifax ; not to mention several elegant strokes given by sir William Temple; doctor Welwood

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SAN- likewise, and bishop Burnet have employed their pencil on the same subject; but the CROFT, former is somewhat partial in his favour, as the latter is by far too harsh and malignant. Abp. Cant.

Instead of finding an exact parallel between Charles II. and the emperor Tiberius, as asserted by that prelate, it would be more just to remark a full contrast and opposition : the emperor seems as much to have surpassed the king in abilities as he falls short of him in virtue : provident, wise, active, jealous, malignant, dark, sullen, unsociable, reserved, cruel, unrelenting, unforgiving; these are the lights under which the Roman tyrant has been transmitted to us : and the only circumstance in which it can justly be pretended he was similar to Charles, is his love of women; a passion which is too general to form any striking resemblance, and which that detestable and detested monster shared also with depraved appetites."

We conclude this reign with the character given to it and Charles, by Fox :

“ There is some reason for believing that the court of Versailles had either wholly discontinued, or at least had become very remiss in, the payments of Charles's pension; and it is not unlikely that this consideration may have induced him either really to think of calling a parliament, or at least to threaten Louis with such a measure, in order to make that prince more punctual in performing his part of their secret treaty. But whether or not any secret change was really intended, or if it were, to what extent, and to what objects directed, are points which cannot now be ascertained, no public steps having ever been taken in this affair, and his majesty's intentions, if in truth he had any such, becoming abortive by the sudden illness which seized him on the 1st of February, 1685, and which, in a few days afterwards, put an end to his reign and life. His death was by many supposed to have been the effect of poison ; but although there is reason to believe that this suspicion was harboured by persons very near to him, and among others, as I have heard, by the duchess of Portsmouth, it appears, upon the whole, to rest upon very slender foundations !

“ With respect to the character of this prince, upon the delineation of which so much pains have been employed, by the various writers who treat of the history of his time, it must be confessed that the facts which have been noticed in the foregoing pages, furnish but too many illustrations of the more unfavourable parts of it. From these we may collect, that his ambition was directed solely against his subjects, while he was completely indifferent concerning the figure which he or they might make in the general affairs of Europe ; and that his desire of power was more unmixed with the love of glory than that of any other man whom history has recorded ; that he was unprincipled, ungrateful, mean, and treacherous, to which may be added vindictive and remorseless. For Burnet, in refusing to him the praise of clemency and forgiveness, seems to be perfectly justifiable, nor is it conceivable upon what pretence his partizans have taken this ground of panegyric. I doubt whether a single instance can be produced of his having spared the life of any one whom motives, either of policy or of revenge, prompted him to destroy. To allege that of Monmouth, as it would be an affront to human nature, so would it likewise imply the most severe of all satires against the monarch himself, and we may add too an undeserved one. For in order to consider it as an act of meritorious forbearance on his part, that he did not follow the example of Constantine, and Philip II., by imbruing his hands in the blood of his son, we must first suppose him to have been wholly void of every natural affection, which does not appear to have been

His declaration that he would have pardoned Essex, being made when that nobleman was dead, and not followed by any act evincing its sincerity, can surely ob

the case.

" ! Mr. Fox had this report from the family of his mother, great-granddaughter to the duchess of Portsmouth. The duchess of Portsmouth lived to a very advanced age, and retained her faculties to the period of her death, which happened in 1734, at Aubigny. Mr. Fox's mother, when very young, saw her at that place; and many of the Lennox family, with whom Mr. Fox was subsequently acquainted, had, no doubt, frequently conversed with her.”


tain no credit from men of sense. If he had really had the intention, he ought not to CHARLES have made such a declaration, unless he accompanied it with some mark of kindness to

II. the relations, or with some act of mercy to the friends of the deceased. Considering it as a mere piece of hypocrisy, we cannot help looking upon it as one of the most odious passages of his life. This ill-timed boast of his intended mercy, and the brutal taunt with which he accompanied his mitigation (if so it may be called) of Russell's sentence, show his insensibility and hardness to have been such, that in questions where right and feclings were concerned, his good sense, and even the good taste for which he has been so much extolled, seemed wholly to desert him.

“ On the other hand, it would be want of candour to maintain that Charles was entirely destitute of good qualities; nor was the propriety of Burnet's comparison between him and Tiberius ever felt, I imagine, by any one but its author. He was gay and affable, and, if incapable of the sentiments belonging to pride of a laudable sort, he was at least free from haughtiness and insolence. The praise of politeness, which the stoics are not perhaps wrong in classing among the moral virtues, provided they admit it to be one of the lowest order, has never been denied him, and he had in an eminent degree that facility of temper which, though considered by some moralists as nearly allied to vice, yet, inasmuch as it contributes greatly to the happiness of those around us, is, in itself, not only an engaging, but an estimable quality. His support of the queen during the heats raised by the popish plot, ought to be taken rather as a proof that he was not a monster, than to be ascribed to him as a merit ; but his steadiness to his brother, though it may and ought, in a great measure, to be accounted for upon selfish principles, had at least a strong resemblance to virtue.

“ The best part of this prince's character seems to have been his kindness towards his mistresses, and his affection for his children, and others nearly connected to him by the ties of blood. His recommendation of the duchess of Portsmouth and Mrs. Gwynne, upon his death-bed, to his successor, is much to his honour; and they who censure it, seem, in their zeal to show themselves strict moralists, to have suffered their notions of vice and virtue to have fallen into strange confusion. Charles's connexion with those ladies might be vicious, but at a moment when that connexion was upon the point of being finally and irrevocably dissolved, to concern himself about their future welfare, and to recommend them to his brother with earnest tenderness, was virtue. It is not for the interest of morality that the good and evil actions, even of bad men, should be confounded. His affection for the duke of Gloucester, and for the duchess of Orleans, seems to have been sincere and cordial. To attribute, as some have done, his grief for the loss of the first to political considerations, founded upon an intended balance of power between his two brothers, would be an absurd refinement, whatever were his general disposition; but when we reflect upon that carelessness which, especially in his youth, was a conspicuous feature of his character, the absurdity becomes still more striking. And though Burnet more covertly, and Ludlow more openly, insinuate that his fondness for his sister was of a criminal nature, I never could find that there was any ground whatever for such a suspicion; nor does the little that remains of their epistolary correspondence give it the smallest countenance. Upon the whole, Charles II. was a bad man, and a bad king: let us not palliate his crimes ; but neither let us adopt false or doubtful imputations, for the purpose of making him a monster.

“Whoever reviews the interesting period which we have been discussing, will find, that, from the consideration of the past, to prognosticate the future, would, at the moment of Charles's demise, be no easy task. Between two persons, one of whom should expect that the country would remain sunk in slavery, the other, that the cause of freedom would revive and triumph, it would be difficult to decide, whose reasons were better supported, whose speculations the more probable. I should guess that he who desponded, had looked more at the state of the public, while he who was sanguine, had fixed his eyes more attentively upon the person who was about to mount the throne. Upon reviewing the two great parties of the nation, one observation occurs very forcibly, and that is, that the great strength of the whigs consisted in their being able to brand their adversaries as favourers of popery; that of the tories (as far as their strength de



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