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ward V. though that young prince was rules of justice ; that he enacted salutary but just turned of twelve years of age, laws, and established wise regulations; never received the crown, nor exercised and that, if his reign had been protracted, any function of royalty; so that the inter, he might have proved an excellent king val between the death of his father, and to the English nation. He was dark, sithe usurpation of his uncle, the Duke of lent, and reserved, and so much master Gloucester, afterwards Richard III. was of dissimulation, that it was almost improperly an interregnum, during which possible to dive into his real sentiments, the uncle took his measures for wresting when he wanted to conceal his designs. the crown from his nephew.
His stature was small, his aspect cloudy,
severe, and forbidding: one of his arms 685. Character of RICHARD III.
was withered, and one shoulder higher Those historians who favour Richard, than another, from which circumstance for even He has met partisans among later of deformity he acquired the epithet of writers, maintain that he was well quali- Crookbacked.
Smollett. fied for government, had he legally obtained it; and that he committed no crimes
$87. Character of Henry VII. but such as were necessary to procure him The reign of Henry VII. was in the possession of the crown; but this is a very main fortunate for his people at home, poor apology, when it is confessed that he and honourable abroad. He put an end was ready to commit the most horrid to the civil wars with which the nation crimes which appeared necessary for that had been so long harassed; he mainpurpose; and it is certain that all his cou- tained peace and order to the state ; he rage and capacity, qualities in which he depressed the former exorbitant power of really seems not to have been deficient, the nobility; and, together with the friend. would never have made compensation to ship of some foreign princes, he acquired the people, for the danger of the prece- the consideration and regard of all. dent, and for the contagious example of He loved peace, without fearing war; vice and murder, exalted upon the throne. though agitated with criminal suspicions This prince was of a small stature, hump- of his servants and ministers, he disbacked, and had a very harsh disagreeable covered no timidity, either in the conduct visage; so that his body was in every of his affairs, or in the day of battle; and, particular no less deformed than his mind. though often severe in his punishments,
Hume, he was commonly less actuated by revenge
than by the maxims of policy. $86. Another Character of Richard III.
The services which he rendered his Such was the end * of Richard III. the people were derived from his views of most cruel unrelenting tyrant that ever sat private interest, rather than the motives on the throne of England. He seems to of public spirit; and where he deviated have been an utter stranger to the softer from selfish regards, it was unknown to emotions of the human heart, and entire- himself, and ever from malignant prejuly destitute of every social enjoyment. dices, or the mean projects of avarice; His ruling passion was ambition : for the not from the sallies of passion, or alluregratification of which he trampled upon ments of pleasure ; still less from the beevery law, both human and divine ; but nign motives of friendship and generosity. this thirst of dominion was unattended His.capacity was excellent, but somewith the least work of generosity, or any what contracted by the narrowness of his desire of rendering himself agreeable to heart; he possessed insinuation and adhis fellow-creatures: it was the ambition dress, but never employed these talents of a savage, not of a prince; for he was except some great point of interest was a solitary king, altogether detached from to be gained; and while he neglected to the rest of mankind, and incapable of that conciliate the affections of his people, he satisfaction which results from private often felt the danger of resting his authofriendship and disinterested society. We rity on their fear and reverence alone. must acknowledge, however, that after He was always extremely attentive to his his accession to the throne, his adminis- affairs; but possessed not the faculty of tration in general was conducted by the seeing far into futurity; and was more
* Slain at the Battle of Bosworth,
expert at promoting a remedy for his mented by forfeitures. Hence he was enmistakes, than judicious in avoiding them. abled to reign without the assistance of Avarice was on the whole his ruling pas- parliament: and, if he occasionally sumsion; and he remained an instance almost inoned the two houses, it was only when singular, of a man placed in a high sta- a decent pretext for demanding a supply, , tion, and possessed of talents for great offered to his avarice a bait, which it affairs, in whom that passion predomi- could not refuse. He had, however, little nated above ambition. Even among pri- to apprehend from the freedoin or the revate persons, avarice is nothing but a monstrances of these assemblies, That species of ambition, and is chiefly in- spirit of resistance to oppression, that are cited by the prospect of that regard, dis- dour to claim and establish their liberties, tinction, and consideration, which attends which characterized the parliaments of on riches.
Hume. former times, had been extinguished in $ 88. Another Character of Henry VII. The temporal peers, who had survived
the bloody feuds between the two roses. To Henry by his contemporaries was the storm, were few in number, and withallotted the praise of political wisdom. out the power of their ancestors: they He seems, indeed, to have been formed feared, by alarming the suspicions of the by nature for the circumstances in which monarch, to replunge themselves into accident had placed him. With a mind the dangers, from which they had so dark and mistrustful, tenacious of its own lately emerged; and the commons readily secrets and adroit in divining the secrets adopted the humble tone, and submissive of others, capable of employing the most demeanour of the upper house. Henry, unprincipled agents, and of descending to and the same may be observed of his two the meanest artifices, he was able to un- last predecessors, found them always the ravel the plots, to detect the impostures, obsequious ministers of his pleasure. and to defeat the projects of all his oppo- But if the king were economical in his nents. But there was nothing open in expenses, and eager in the acquisition of his friendship, or generous in his enmity. wealth, it should also be added, that he His suspicions kept him always on his often rewarded with the generosity, and on guard: he watched with jealousy the con- occasions of ceremony displayed the magduct of his very ministers; and never un- nificence, of a great monarch. His chabosomed himself with freedom even to rities were many and profuse. Of his his consort or his mother. It was bis de- buildings his six convents of friars fell in light to throw an air of mystery over the the next reign: his chapel at Westminmost ordinary transactions: nor would ster still exists, a monument of his opupride or policy allow him, even when it lence and taste. He is said to have ocappeared essential to his interests, to ex- casionally advanced loans of money to plain away the doubts, or satisfy the cu- merchants engaged in profitable branches riosity of his subjects. The consequence of trade : and not only gave the royal was, that no one knew what to believe, licence to the attempt of the Venetian or what to expect. “ All things," says navigator Cabot, but fitted out a ship at Sir Thomas More, were so covertly his own expense to join in the voyage. demeaned, one thing pretended and ano- Cabot sailed from Bristol, discovered the ther meant, that there was nothing so island of Newfoundland, crept along the plain and openly proved, but that yet, coast of Florida, and returned to #ngfor the common custom of close and co- land: It was the first European exvert dealing, men had it ever inwardly pedition that ever reached the American suspect, as many well counterfeited jewels continent. make the true mistrusted.”
Lingard. He appears to have been the first of
$89. Character of Henry VIII. our kings since the accession of Henry III., who confined his expenses within
It is difficult to give a just summary of the limits of his income. But the civil this prince's qualities; he was so different wars had swept away those crowds of an- from himself in different parts of his reign, nuitants and creditors, that formerly used that, as is well remarked by Lord Herto besiege the doors of the exchequer: bert, his history is his best character and and the revenue of the crown came to description. The absolute and unconhim free from incumbrances, and aug. trouled authority which he maintained at
home, and the regard he obtained among advantageous, and fit to captivate the foreign nations, are circumstances which multitude; his magnificence and perentitle him to the appellation of a great sonal bravery rendered him illustrious to prince: while his tyranny and cruelty vulgar eyes; and it may be said with seem to exclude him from the character of truth, that the English in that age were a good one.
so thoroughly subdued, that, like eastern He possessed, indeed, great vigour of slaves, they were inclined to admire even mind, which qualified him for exercising those acts of violence and tyranny, which dominion over men; courage, intrepidi- were exercised over themselves, and at ty, vigilance, inflexibility; and though their own expence.
Hume. these qualities lay not always under the guidance of a regular and solid judg- $90. Another Character of Henry VIII. ment, they were accompanied with good To form a just estimate of the characparts, and an extensive capacity; and ter of Henry, we must distinguish beevery one dreaded a contest with a man tween the young king, guided by the who was never known to yield or to for- counsels of Wolsey, and the monarch give; and who, in every controversy, of more mature age, governing by his was determined to ruin himself or bis own judgment, and with the aid of miantagonist.
nisters selected and fashioned by himself. A catalogue of his vices would compre. In his youth, the beauty of his person, hend many of the worst qualities incident the elegance of his manners, and his to human nature. Violence, cruelty, pro- adroitness in every martial and fashionfusion, rapacity, injustice, obstinacy, arro- able exercise, were calculated to attract gance, bigotry, presumption, caprice; but the admiration of his subjects. His court neither was he subject to all these vices in was gay and splendid; a succession of the most extreme degree, nor was he at amusements seemed to absorb his attenintervals altogether devoid of virtues. He tion: yet his pleasures were not perwas sincere, open, gallant, liberal, and ca- mitted to encroach on his more importpable at least of a temporary friendship ant duties; he assisted at the council, peand attachment. In this respect he was un- rused the dispatches, and corresponded fortunate, that the incidents of his times with his generals and ambassadors: nor served to display his faults in their full did the minister, trusted and powerful as light; the treatment he met with from the he was, dare to act, till he bad asked the court of Rome provoked him to violence; opinion, and taken the pleasure of his sovethe danger of a revolt from his supersti- reign. His natural abilities had been imtious subjects seemed to require the most proved by study: and his esteem for liextreme severity. But it must at the same terature may be inferred from the learned time be acknowledged, that his situation education which he gave to his children, tended to throw an additional lustre on and from the number of eminent scholars what was great and magnanimous in his to whom he granted pensions in foreign character.
states, or on whom he conferred promoThe emulation between the Emperor tion in his own.
The immense treasure and the French King rendered his alli- which he inherited from his father, was ance, notwithstanding his impolitic con- perhaps a misfortune ; because it engenduct, of great importance to Europe. The dered babits of expence not to be supextensive powers of his prerogative, and ported from the ordinary revenue of the the submission, not to say slavish disposi- crown: and the soundness of his politics tion of his parliament, made it more easy may be doubted, which under the prefor him to assume and maintain that entire tence of supporting the balance of power, dominion, by which his reign is so much repeatedly involved the nation in contidistinguished in English history.
nental hostilities. Yet even these errors It may seem a little extraordinary, that served to throw a lustre round the Engnotwithstanding his cruelty, his extortion, lish throne, and raised its possessor in his violence, his arbitrary administration, the eyes of his own subjects and of the this prince not only acquired the regard different nations of Europe. But as the of his subjects, but never was the object king advanced in age, his vices gradually of their batred; he seems even, in some developed themselves; after the death of degree, to have possessed their love and Wolsey they were indulged without reaffection. His exterior qualities were straint. He became as rapacious as he was prodigal: as obstinate as he was ca- nions, with the depth of the water, and pricious: as fickle in his friendships, as way of coming into them. He understood he was merciless in his resentments. foreign affairs so well, that the ambassaThough liberal of his confidence, he soon dors who were sent into England, pubgrew suspicious of those whom he had lished very extraordinary things of him, ever trusted; and, as if he possessed no in all the courts of Europe. He had great other right to the crown than that which quickness of apprehension; but being dishe derived from the very questionable trustful of his memory, he took notes of claim of his father, he viewed with an every thing he heard (that was considera evil eye every remote descendant of the able) in Greek characters, that those about Plantagenets; and eagerly embraced the him might not understand what he writ, slightest pretexts to remove those whom which he afterwards copied out fair in the his jealousy represented as future rivals journal that he kept. His virtues were to himself or his posterity. In pride and wonderful: when he was made to believe vanity he was perhaps without a parallel that his uncle was guilty of conspiring Inflated with the praises of interested ad- the death of the other counsellors, be mirers, he despised the judgment of upon that abandoned him. others; acted as if he deemed himself in. Barnaby Fitz Patrick was his favourite; fallible in matters of policy and religion; and when he sent him to travel, he writ and seemed to look upon dissent from oft to him to keep good company, to avoid his opinion as equivalent to a breach of excess and luxury; and to improve bimallegiance. In bis estimation, to submit self in those things that might render him and to obey, were the great, the para- capable of employment at his return. He mount duties of subjects: and this per- was afterwards made Lord of Upper Os. suasion steeled his breast against remorse sory in Ireland, by Queen Elizabeth, and for the blood which he shed, and led did answer the hopes this excellent king him to trample without so on the li- bad of him. He was very merciful in his berties of the nation.
nature, which appeared in his unwillingWhen he ascended the throne, there ness to sign the warrant for burning the still existed a spirit of freedom, which on maid of Kent. He took great care to have more than one occasion defeated the ar- his debts well paid, reckoning that a bitrary measures of the court, though di- prince who breaks his faith, and loses his rected by an able minister, and supported credit, has thrown up that which he can by the authority of the sovereign : but in never recover, and made himself liable to the lapse of a few years that spirit had perpetual distrust, and extreme contempt. fled, and before the death of Henry, the He took special care of the petitions that king of England had grown into a despot, were given him by poor and oppressed the people had shrunk into a nation of people. But his great zeal for religion slaves. The causes of this important crowned all the rest-it was not an angry change in the relations between the sove- heat about it that actuated him, but it was reign and his subjects, may be found not a true tenderness of conscience, founded so much in the abilities or passions of on the love of God and his neighbour. the former, as in the obsequiousness of These extraordinary qualities, set off with his parliaments, the assumption of the ec- great sweetness and affability, inade him clesiastical supremacy, and the servility universally beloved by his people. Burnet. of the two religious parties which divided the nation.
$ 92. Another Character of EDWARD VI. Lingard.
Edward is celebrated by historians for $91. Character of EDWARD VI.
the beauty of his person, the sweetness of Thus died Edward VI. in the sixteenth his disposition, and the extent of his knowyear of his age. He was counted the ledge. By the time he had attained his wonder of his time; he was not only sixteenth year, he understood the Greek, learned in the tongues and the liberal sci. Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish lanences, but he knew well the state of his guages; he was versed in the sciences of kingdom.
He kept a table-book, in logic, music, natural philosophy, and which he had written the characters of all master of all theological disputes; insothe eminent men of the nation : he studied much that the famous Cardanus, in his fortification, and understood the mint well. return from Scotland, visiting the EngHe knew the harbours in all his domi. lish court, was astonished at the progress he had made in learning; and afterwards piety, and a habit of daily devotion; a extolled him in his works as a prodigy of warm attachment to the new, and a vionature. Notwithstanding these encomi- lent antipathy to the ancient, doctrines. ums, he seems to have had an ingredient He believed it to be the first of his duties of bigotry in his disposition, that would to extirpate what he had been taught to have rendered him very troublesome to deem, the idolatrous worship of his fathers: those of tender consciences, who might and with his last breath he wafted a have happened to differ with him in reli- prayer to Heaven for the preservation of his gious principles ; nor can we reconcile subjects from the infection of “papistry.” either to his boasted humanity or pene. Yet it may be a question whether his early tration, his consenting to the death of his death has not proved a benefit to the uncle, who had served bim faithfully; church of England, as it is at present unless we suppose he wanted resolution established. His sentiments like those of to withstand the importunities of his mi- his instructors were tinged with Calvinnisters, and was deficient in that vigour of ism : attempts were made to persuade him mind, which often exists independent of that episcopacy was an expensive and unlearning and culture. Smollett. necessary institution; and the courtiers, $ 93. Another Character of Edward VI. been whetted rather than satisfied by for
whose appetite for church property had It would be idle to delineate the cha
mer spoliations, looked impatiently toracter of a prince, who lived not till his wards the entire suppression of the passions developed themselves, or his fa- bishoprics and chapters.' of the possesculties had acquired maturity. His edu- sions' belonging to these establishments cation, like that of his two sisters, began at one half had already been seized by the a very early age. In abilities he was royal favourites : in the course of a few equal, perhaps superior, to most boys of years their rapacity would have devoured his years: and his industry and improve the remainder.
Lingard. ment amply repaid the solicitude of his
$94. Character of MARY. tutors, But the extravagant praises, which have been lavished on him by his It is not necessary to employ many panegyrists and admirers, may be re- words in drawing the character of this ceived with some degree of caution. In the princess. She possessed few qualities French and Latin letters, to which they either estimable or amiable, and her perappeal, it is difficult to separate the com- son was as little engaging as her behaviour position of the pupil from the corrections and address. Obstinacy, bigotry, rioof the master and since, to raise his lence, cruelty, malignity, revenge, and reputation, deceptions are known to have tyranny; every circumstance of her chabeen employed on some occasions, it may racter took a tincture from her bad tembe justifiable to suspect that they were per and narrow understanding. And practised on others. The boy of twelve amidst the complication of vices which or fourteen years was accustomed to pro- entered into her composition, we shall nounce his opinion in the council with all scarcely find any virtue but sincerity, a the gravity of a hoary statesman. But he quality which she seems to have mainhad been previously informed of the sub- tained throughout her whole life, except jects to be discussed: his preceptors bad in the beginning of her reign, when the supplied him with short notes, which he necessity of her affairs obliged her to committed to memory: and while he de- make some promises to the Protestants, livered their sentiments as his own, the which she certainly never intended to perlords, whether they were aware or not of form. But in those cases a weak bithe artifice, admired and applauded the goted woman, under the government of precocious wisdom with which Heaven priests, easily finds casuistry sufficient to had gifted their sovereign.
justify to herself the violation of an enEdward's religious belief could not gagement. She appears, as well as her have been the result of his own judgment. father, to have been susceptible of some He was compelled to take it on trust from attachment of friendship; and that withthose about him, who moulded his infant out caprice and inconstancy, which were mind to their own pleasure, and insused so remarkable in the conduct of that mointo it their own opinions or prejudices. narch. To which we may add, that in From them he derived a strong sense of many circumstances of her life, she gave