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and magnificence, devoted to favourites, obliged him to fleece his people, and de and addicted to pleasure ; passions, all grade the dignity of his character and of them, the most inconsistent with a situation. Though we find none of his prudent aconomy, and consequently dan- charities on record, all his historians gerous in a limited and mixed govern- agree, that he excelled all his predeces. ment. Had he possessed the talents of sors in state hospitality, and fed a thougaining, and, still more, of overawing his sand every day from his kitchen. great barons, he might have escaped all
Smollett. the misfortunes of his reign, and been allowed to carry much further his oppres- $79. Another Character of RICHARD II. sions over his people, if he really was guilty of any, without their daring to rebel, or Richard of Bourdeaux (so called for even murmur against him. But when the the place of bis birth) was remarkably grandees were tempted, by his want of beautiful and handsome in his person; prudence and rigour, to resist his autho- and doth not seem to be naturally de. rity, and execute the most violent enter- fective, either in courage or understand. prizes upon him, he was naturally led to ing. For on some occasions, particularly seek for an opportunity of retaliation'; in the dangerous insurrections of the justice was neglected; the lives of the crown, he acted with a degree of spirit chief nobility sacrificed; and all these and prudence superior to his years. But evils seem to have proceeded more from his education was miserably neglected ; a settled design of establishing arbitrary or, rather, he was intentionally corrupted power, than from the insolence of victory, and debauched by three ambitious uncles, and the necessities of the king's situation. who, being desirous of retaining the maThe manners, indeed, of the age, were the nagement of his affairs, encouraged him chief sources of such violence; laws, to spend his time in the company of diswhich were feebly executed in peaceable solute young people of both sexes, in a times, lost all their authority in public continual course of feasting and dissipatios. convulsions. Both parties were alike By this means, he contracted a taste for guilty; or, if any
be re- pomp and pleasure, and a dislike to busimarked between them, we shall find the The greatest foible in the character authority of the crown, being more legal, of this unhappy prince was an excessive was commonly carried, when it prevailed, fondness for, and unbounded liberality to to less desperate extremities than those of his favourites, which enraged his uncles, aristocracy*
particularly the Duke of Gloucester, and
disgusted such of the nobility as did not $78. Another Character of RICHARD II. partake of his bounty. He was an affec
tionate husband, a generous master, and a Such was the last conclusion of Richard faithful friend ; and if he had received a H. a weak, vain, frivolous, inconstant, proper education, might have proved a prince; without weight to balance the great and good king. scales of government, without discern. ment to choose a good ministry; without s 80. Character of Henry IV. virtue to oppose the measures, or advice, of evil counsellors, even where whey hap- The great popularity which Henry enpened to clash with his own principles joyed before he attained the crown, and and opinion. He was a dupe to flattery, which had so much aided him in the acquia slave to ostentation, and not more apt to sition of it, was entirely lost, many years give up his reason to the suggestion of before the end of his reign, and he go. sycophants and vicious ministers, than to verned the people more by terror than a sacrifice those ministers to his safety. He fection, more by his own policy than their was idle, profuse, and profligate; and, sense of duty and allegiance. When men though brave by starts, naturally pusiha- eame to reflect in cold blood on the crimes nimous, and irresolute. His pride and which led him to the throne; and the reresentment prompted him to cruelty and bellion against his prince; the deposition breach of faith; while his necessities of a lawful king, guilty sometimes of op + He was starved to death in prison, or mur.
pression, but more frequently of imprtidered, after haviug been dethroned, A.D. 1399, dences; the exclusion of the true heir ; in the year of his age 34 ; of his reign 23. the murder of his sovereign and near T
Непту. fation; these were such enormities, as nious, though justly censured for want of drew on him the hatred of his subjects, æconomy, and ill-judged profusion. Ile sanctified all the rebellions against him, was tame from caution, humble from fear, and made the executions, though not re- cruel fron policy, and rapacious from inmarkably severe, which he found neces- digence. He rose tothe throne by perfidy sary for the maintenance of his authority, and treason; and established his authority appear cruel as well as iniquitous to his in the blood of his subjects, and died a people. Yet, without pretending to apo- penitent for his sins, because he could no ogize for these crimes, which must ever be longer enjoy the fruit of his transgressions. held in detestation, it may be remarked,
Smollett. that he was insensibly led into this blameable conduct; by a train of incidents, which $ 82. Character of HENRY V. few men possess virtue enough to withstand. The injustice with which his pre- This prince possessed many eminent visélecessor had treated him, in first condemne tues; and, if we give indulgence to ainbiing him to banishment, and then despoil- tion in a monarch, orrank it, as the vulgar ing him of his patrimony, made him natu- do, among his virtues, they were unstained rally think of revenge, and of recovering by any considerable blemish; his abilities his lost rights; the headstrong zeal of the appeared equally in the cabinet and in people hurried him into the throne; the the field: the boldness of bis enterprizes care of his own security, as well as his was no less remarkable than his personal ambition, made him an usurper; and the valour in conducting them. He had the steps have always been so few between the talent of attaching his friends by affabi. prisons of princes and their graves, that we lity, and gaining his enemies by address need not wonder that Richard's fate was and clemency no exception to the general rule. All these The English, dazzled by the lustre of considerations made the king's situation, if his character, still more by that of his he retained any sense of virtue, very much victories, were reconciled to the defects to be lamented ; and the inquietudes with of his title. The French almost forgot he which he possessed his envied greatness, was an enemy; and his care of maintainand the remorses by which, it is said, he ing justice in his civil administration, and was continually haunted, rendered him an preserving discipline in his armies, made object of our pity, even when seated upon some amends to both nations for the cathe throne. But it'must be owned, that lamities inseparable from those wars in his prudence, vigilance, and foresight in which his short reign was almost occumaintaining his power, were admirable; pied. That he could forgive the carl of his command of temper remarkable; his Marche, who had a better right to the courage, both military and political, with- throne than himself, is a sure proof of his out blemish : and he possessed many quali- magnanimity; and that the earl relied 80 ties, which fitted him for his high station, on his friendship, is no less a proof of his and which rendered his usurpation of it, established character for candour and sinthough pernicious in after-times, rather cerity. salutary during his own reign, to the There remain, in history, few instances English nation.
of such mutual trust; and still fewer, where Died 1413. Aged 43.
Hume, neither found reason to repent it.
The exterior figure or this great prince, $81. Another Character of HENRY IV. as well as his deportinent, was engaging,
His stature was somewhat above the midHenry IV. was of a middle stature, well. dle size; his countenance beautiful, his proportioned, and perfect in all the exer- limbs genteel and slender, but full of vicise of arms and chivalry; his counte- gour; and he excelled in all warlike and mance was severe, rather than serene, and mạnly exercises. his disposition sour, sullen, and reserved ; Died 31st August, 1422: in the year he possessed a great share of courage, forti- of his
age 34; of his reign, the 10th. tude, and penetration ; was naturally im
Hume. perious, though he bridled his temper with a great deal of caution ; superstitious, 583. Another Character of Henry V, though without the Icast tincture of virtue and true religion; and meanly parsimo. Henry was tall and slender, with a long
neck, neck, and engaging aspect, and limbs of in the hands of his enemies and of Lis the most elegant turn. He excelled all the friends. His weakness, and his disputed youth of that age, in agility, and the ex- title, were the chief causes of his public ercise of arms; was hardy, patieni, labo- misfortunes: but whether bis quein and rious, and more capable of enduring cold, his ministers were not guilty of some great hunger, and fatigue, than any individual abuses of power, it is not easy for us, at in his army. llis valour was such as no this distance of time, to determine. There danger could startle, and no difficulty op- remain no proofs on record of any consipose; nor was his policy inferior to his derable violation of the laws, except in courage.
the death of the Duke of Gloucester, He managed the dissensions among bis which was a private crime, formed no enemies with such address, as spoke him precedent, and was but too much of a consummate in the arts of the cabinet. piece with the usual ferocity and cruçity Ile foinented their jealousy, and converted of the times. their mutual resentment to his own anda vantage.
$ 85. SMOLLETT's Account of the Death Henry possessed a self-taught genius, of Henry VI. with some Strictures that blazed out at once, without the aid of of Character, is as follous. instruction and experience: and a fund of natural sagacity, that made ample amends This insurrection in all probability for all these defects. He was chaste, hastened the death of the unfortunate temperate, moderate, and devout; scrupu. Llenry, who was found dead in the Tower, lously just in his administration, and se- in which he had been confined since the verely exact in the discipline of his army; restoration of Edward. The greater part upon which he knew his glory and suc- of historians have alleged, that he was Cess, in a great measure depended. In a
assassinated by the Duke of Gloucester, word, it must be owned, he was without who was a prince of the snost brutal disan equal in the arts of war, policy, and position ; while some moderns, from an government. But we cannot be so far atiectation of singularity, affirm that 1/csdazzled svith his great qualities, as to over- ry died of grief and vexation. This, 10 look the defects in his character. This doubt, might have been the case ; and it pride and imperious temper lost him the must be owned, that nothing appears in hearts of the French nobility, and fro- history, from which either Edward of quently fell out into outrage and abuse; Richard could be convicted of having conas at the siege of Melun, when he treated trived or perpetrated his murder: but, at the Varechat l'Isle d’Adam with the ut- the same time, we must observe some conmost indignity, although that nobleman curring circumstances that amount to had given him no other offence, than that strong presumption against the reiguing of coming into his presence in plain de- monarch. Tlenry was of a hale consticent apparel.
Smollett. tution, but just turned of fifty, naturally
insensible of afiliction, and backneyed in § 81. IIUME's Account of Henry VI. the vicissitudes of fortune, so that one
(for there is no regular Character of would not expect he should have died of this Prince given by this Historian's age and infirmity, or that his life would is expressed in the following manner. have been attected by grief arising from
his last disaster. His sudden death was in this manner finished the reign of suspicious, as well as the conjuncture at licnry VI. who, while yet in his cradie, wbich he died, immediately after the suphad been proclaimed king both of France pression of a rebellion, which seemed 10 and England, and who began his life with declare that Edward would never be quiet
, the most splendid prospects which any while the head of the house of Lancaster prince in Europe hart ever enjoyed. The remained alive: and lastly, the suspicion revolution was unhappy for his people, as is contirmed by the characters of the it was the source of civil wars; but was reigning king and his brother Richard
, almost entirely indifferent to llenry him who were bloody, barbarous, and unre. self, who was utterly incapable of exer- lenting. Very differeut was the dispunt cising his authority, and who, provided tion of the ill-iated Henry, who, without he met perpetually with good usage, was equally casy, as he was cqually enslaved, * Revolt of the bastard of Falcoobridge.
any princely virtue or qualification, was land, and perhaps in Europe. Ilis noble totally free from cruelty or revenge ; on mien, his free and easy way, his affable the contrary, he could not, without re- carriage, won the hearts of all at first sight. luctance, consent to the punishment of These qualities gained him estecm and afthose malcfactors who were sacrificed to fection, which stood him in great stead in the public safety; and frequently sustain- several circumstances of his life. For some ed indignities of the grossest nature, with- time he was exceeding liberal : but at out discovering the least mark of resent- length he grew covetous, not so much ment. Ile was chaste, pious, compassion- from his natural temper, as out of a necesate, and charitable; and so inoffensive, sity to bear the immediate expences that the bishop, who was his confessor for which his pleasures ran him into. ten years, declares, that in all that time Though he had a great deal of wit, and he had never committed any sin that re- a sound judgment, he committed, howquired penance or rebuke. In a word, he ever, several oversights. But the crimes would have adorned a cloister, though he Edward is most justly charged with, are disgraced a crown; and was rather re- his cruelty, perjury, and incontinence. spectable for those vices he wanted, than "The first appears in the great number of for those virtues he possessed. Ile founded princes and lords he put to death on the the colleges of Eton and Windsor, and scaffoli, asier he had taken them in battle. King's College in Cambridge, for the re- If there ever was reason to shew mercy in ception of those scholars who had begun case of rebellion, it was at that fatal time, their studies at Eton.
when it was almost impossible to stand On the morning that succeeded his neuter, and so difficult to chuse the justest death, his body was exposed at St. Paul's side between the two houses that were church, in order to prevent unfavourable contending for the crown. conjectures, and, next day, sent by water And yet we do not see that Edward had to the abbey of Chertsey, where he was any regard to that consideration. As for interred: but it was afterwards reinoved, Edward's incontinence, one may say, that by order of Richard III. to Windsor, his whole life was one continued scene of and there buried with great funeral so- excess that way; he had abundance of lemnity.
mistresses, but especially three, of whom
he said, that one was the merriest, the ♡ 86. Character of EDWARD IV. other the wittiest, and the other the holiest
in the world, since she would not stir from Edward IV. was a prince more splendid the church but when he sent for her.and shewy, thran either prudent or virtu- What is most astonishing in the life of this ous; brave, though cruel; addicted to prince is his good fortune, which seemed pleasure, though capable of activity in to be prodigious. great emergencies; and less fitted to pre- He was raised to the throne, after the sent ills by wise precautions, than to re- loss of two battles, one by the Duke his medy then after they took place, by his father, the other by the Earl of Warwick, vigour and enterprize.
Hume, who was devoted to the house of York,
The head of the father was still upon the 87. Another Character of EdwardIV. walls of York, when the son was pro
claimed in London. He was a prince of the most elegant Edward escaped, as it were, by mira. person and insinuating address; endowed cle, out of his confinement at Middleham. with the utmost fortitude and intrepidity; lle was restored to the throne, or at least possessed of uncommon sagacity and pene- received into London, at his return from tration ; but, like all lis ancestors, was Holland, before he had overcome, and brutally cruel and vindictive, perfidious, whilst his fortune yet depended upon the lewd, perjured, and rapacious ; without issue of a battle, which the Earl of Warone liberal thought, without one senti- wick was ready to give him. In a word, ment of humanity.
Smollett. he was ever victorious in all the battles
wherein he fought in person. Edward $88. Another Character of EDWARD IV. died the 9th of April, in the 42d year of
his age, after a reign of twenty-two years When Edward ascended the throne, he and one month. .fas one of the bandsomest men in Eng
Rapin. Ø 89. EDWARD V.
altogether detached from the rest of man.
kind, and incapable of that satisfaction Immediately after the death of the which results from private friendsbip and fourth Edward, his son was proclaimed disinterested society. We must ackcow, king of England, by the name of Ed. ledge, however, that after his accession to ward V. though that young prince was the throne, his administration in general but just turned of twelve years of age, was conducted by the rules of justice; that never received the crown, nor exercised he enacted salutary laws, and established any function of royalty; so that the inter- wise regulations; and that if his reign had val between the death of his father, and been przeracted, he might have proved an the usurpation of his uncle, the Duke of excellent king to the English nation. He Gloucester, afteru ards Richard III. was was dark, silent, and reserved, and so properly an interregnum, during which much master of dissimulation, that it was the uncle took his measures for wresting almost impossible to dive into his real the crown from his nephew.
sentiments, when he wanted to conecal his
designs. Uis stature was small, bis aspect Ø 90. Character of RICHARD III. cloudy, severe, and forbidding; one of his
arms was withered, and one shoulder Those historians who favour Richard, higher than another, from which circumfor even He has met partizans among later stance of deformity he acquired the epithet writers, maintain that he was well quali- of Crookbacked.
Smoliett. fied for government, had he legally obtained it; and ihat he cummiited no crimes s 92. Character of Henry VII. but such as were necessary to procure him possession of the crown; but this is a very The reign of Henry VII. was in the poor apology, when it is confessed that he main fortunate for his people at home, was ready to commit the most horrid and honourable abroad. Ile put an end to crimes which appeared necessary for tha the civil wars with which the nation bad purpose; and it is certain that all his cou- been so long harassed ; he maintained rage and capacity, qualities in which he peace and order to the state; he depressed really seems not to have been deficient, the former exorbitant power of the nowould never have made compensation to bility; and, together with the friendship the people, for the danger of the precedent, of some foreign princes, he acquired the and for the contagious example of vice consideration and regard of all. and murder, exalted upon the throne. He loved peace, without fearing war; This prince was of a small stature, hump- though agitated with criminal suspicions backed, and had a very harsh disagreeable of his servants and ministers, he disvisage; so that his body was in every covered no timidity, either in the conduct particular no less deformed than his mind. of his affairs, or in the day of battle; and,
Hume, though often severe in his punishments,
he was commonly less actuated by re091. Another Character of Richard III, venge than by the maxins of policy,
The services which be 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 of on the throne of England. He seems to public spirit ; and where he deviated from have been an utter stranger to the softer selfish regards, it was unknown to himself
, emotions of the human heart, and entirely and ever from malignant prejudices, of destitute of every social enjoyment. His the mean projects of avarice; not from Tuling passion was ambition : for the gra- the sallies of passion, or allurements of tification of which he trampled upon every pleasure ; still
less from the benign mo law, both human and divine ; but this tives of friendship and generosity. thirst of dominion was unattended with the
His capacity was excellent, but someleast work of generosity, or any desire of what contracted by the narrowness of his rendering himself agreeable to his fellow. heart; he possessed insinuation and address, creatures : it was the ambition of a savage, but never employed these talents except not of a prince ; for he was a solitary king, some great point of interest was to be gain
ed; and while he neglected to conciliate * Slain at the battle of Bosworth. the affections of his people, he often felt