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rectify an opinion, by too many entertained, that he was hasty and credulous, and a mere recorder of the tales and scandals of the times.
I will conclude this note with the words of M. le Clerc, a man equally remarkable for his sense, learning, and freedom of thought. “There is nothing so common as to see unbelievers,” says he, “ strongly perswaded of Judiciary Astrology; and believing, that magicians can do several things beyond the power and order of nature. Two great ministers of state, for example, whose actions will not let us think that religion was one of their greatest virtues, are both accused of believing the predictions of astrologers: and one of them, of perswading himself, that a man who vomited several sorts of liquors, did it by the help of magick. Cardinal Richlieu, says an historian, consulted, besides astrology, all kinds of divination; even silly women, whose knowledge consists in vapours, that make them foretell, by chance, some fortuitous events. so credulous, as to attribute to the operation of the devil, the art of throwing out at the mouth all sorts of liquors, after having first drunk water; as was done by an Italian mountebank. Mazarine, who was not yet a cardinal, having at so simple a discourse burst out into laughing, had like to lose his favour by it; for the cardinal being provoked at this mirth, whereby he thought Mazarine jeerd him, said, ironically, to him, that he was not Monsieur Mazarine, who had a profound and exact knowledge of every thing. Mazarine very submissively reply'd, that, giving the fifty pistoles which the mountebank demanded for teaching his secret, it might be seen whether the devil had any hand in it. Mazarine himself looked upon all divinations as fopperies; except astrology, which he strongly fancied, though he feigned the contrary. When Madam Man
he was an arrant dissembler 3; as is con
cini, his sister, dy'd; and afterwards the duchess of Mercoeur, his niece, according to the prediction of an astrologer at Rome, given in writing a great while before, he became extraordinary sad and melancholy, not * out of tenderness to his relations, but because this same astrologer had fix'd the term of his own death to a time that was very near.
He lost his appetite upon it, and slept not for many nights “.
He was an arrant dissembler.] We have seen the dissimulation of Charles in Seotland b: a dissimulation so base, that it made deep impressions on the minds of many; and gave his adversaries a handle to represent him in no very favourable light. This is taken notice of, and attempted to be apologized for, in the declaration concerning ecclesiastical affairs, published soon after the Restoration. “We have found,” says the declaration, “ourself not so candidly dealt with as we have deserved; and that there are unquiet and restless spirits, who continue their bitterness against the church, and endeavour to raise jealousies of us, and to lessen our reputation by their reproaches, as if we were not true to the professions we have made. And, in order thereunto, they have very unseasonably caused to be printed, published, and dispersed, throughout the kingdom, a declaration heretofore print ed, in our name, in Scotland; of which we shall say no more, than that the circumstances, by which we were enforced to sign that declaration, are enough known to the world; and that the worthiest and greatest part of that nation did even then detest and abhor the ill usage of us in that particular, when the same tyranny was
* Causes of Incredulity, p. 24. 12mo. Lond. 1697.
• In vol. IV. note 14.
fessed even by his friends, and very little to
exercised there, by the power of a few ill men, which, at that time, had spread itself over this kingdom; and therefore we had no reason to expect, that we should at this season (when we are doing all we can to wipe out the memory of all that hath been done amiss by other men, and, we thank God, have wiped it out of our own remembrance), have been ourself assaulted with those reproaches; which we will likewise forgeta.”—This is but a poor apology. If circumstances had not enforced, Cromwell had been no dis. sembler.- To go on.-Sheffield observes, that “ Charles was not false to his word; but full of dissimulation, and very adroit at it b."-And Saville, after taking notice, “ that princes dissemble with too many not to have it discovered;" adds, “no wonder then that he [Charles] carried it so far that it was discovered. Men,” continues he, “ compared notes, and got evidence: so that those whose morality would give them leave, took it for an excuse for serving him ill. Those who knew his face, fixed their eyes there; and thought it of more importance to see, than to hear what he said. His face was as little a blab as most mens; yet, though it could not be called a prattling face, it would sometimes tell tales to a good observer. When he thought fit to be angry, he had a very peevish memory: there was hardly a blot that escaped him. At the same time that this shewed the strength of his dissimulation, it gave warning too: it fitted his present purpose, but it made a discovery that put men more upon their guard against him.”
Kennet's Register, p. 289. • Buckingham's Works, vol. II. p. 58.
· Character of K. Charles II. p. 15.
After this, it will be no difficult matter for the reader to believe, “ that, when the king passed through the city towards. Westminster, the London ministers attended him with acclamations; and, by the hands of old Mr. Arthur Jackson, presented him with a richadorned Bible, which he received, and told them, it should be the rule of his actions a.” Nor can we wonder that a prince of this character, in order to keep up appearances, should order attempts to be made to recover his brother from popery; which he himself was, probably,--as we shall soon see—far from being disinclined to. This particular we find in a letter from Sancroft to Morley, dated, Feb. 11, 1678, in the following words: “ Yesterday I had a private intimation from my superiour, that it is his pleasure that some further attempt should speedily be made to recover the duke of York out of that foul apostacy into which the busy traytors from Rome have seduced him b.”. There is another story related, by an anonymous writer, which, possibly, may be true, as being consistent with the king's character; though I will not charge myself with the proof of it." Whilst the king lay at Breda, daily expecting the English navy for his transportation; the dissenting party, fearing the worst, thought it but reasonable to send a select number of their most eminent divines to wait upon his majesty in Holland, in order to get the most advantageous promises from him they could, for the liberty of their consciences. Of the number of these divines, Mr. Case was one; who, with the rest of his brethren, coming where the king lay, and desiring to be admitted into the king's presence, were carried up into the chamber next, or very near, the king's closet; but told withal, that the king was busy at his devotions, and that till he had done they must be contented to stay. Being thus left alone (by contrivance, no doubt), and hearing a sound of groaning piety, such was the curiosity of Mr. Case, that he would needs go and lay his ear to the closet door. But, Heavens! how was the good old man ravished to hear the pious ejaculations that fell from the king's lips !-Lord--since thou art pleased to restore me to the throne of my ancestors, grant me a heart constant in the exercise and protection of thy true protestant religion. Never may I seek the oppression of those who, out of tenderness of their consciences, are not free to conformn to outward and indif ferent ceremonies.-With a great deal more of the same canta.”
a Baxter's Life, p. 218. 6 State Letters of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, vol. 11. p. 275. 4to. Oxon. 1763.
- This account is far enough from being improbable: for, on good authority, we are assured, “ that when he received the London ministers, which went to him at the Hague, he had these memorable and rare expressions: That he would make it his business to bring virtue and sobriety into fashion and repute in England; and though there were a profane drinking party, which would be esteemed his best and only friends, he would make the more haste into England, to let such men know, that he was their worst enemy, for they were the devil's party, and none of his. These were his words; and, which is the true honour of them, they were free; not drawn from him, or suggested to him.”—These, and facts like these, will establish the character of Charles for dissimulation; and class him, in this respect, with many of his most zealous opponents. Lord Halifax attempts to
* Secret History of the Reigns of Charles II. and James II. 12mo.
b Kennet's Register, p. 460.
P. 20, 1690,