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wit and understanding, in no common des
how different soever from the opinions he was of before; and he was very easy to change hands, when those he employed seemed to have engaged him in any difficulties: so as nothing looked steady in the conduct of his affairs, nor aimed at any certain enda."- Lord Halifax (Saville), who was no stranger to him, says, “that he had a mechanical head, which appeared in his inclination to shipping and fortification, &c. This would make one conclude, that his thoughts would naturally have been more fixed to business, if his pleasures had not drawn them away from it. He had a very good memory, though he would not always make equal good use of it. So that if he had accustomed himself to direct his faculties to his business, I see no reason why he might not have been a good deal master of it. His chain of memory was longer than his chain of thought: the first could bear any burden, the other was tired by being carried on too long : it was fit to ride a heat, but it had not. wind enough for a long course b.” Lord Clarendon owns, and attempts to account for, the indolence of his master, by “the unhappy temper and constitution of the royal party— and other perplexities (soon after the Restoration), which did so break his mind, and had that operation on his spirits, that, finding he could not propose any such method to himself, by which he might extricate himself out of the many difficulties and labyrinths in which he was involved, he grew more disposed to leave all things to their natural course, and God's providence; and, by degrees, unbent his mind from the
Character of King
* Buckingham's Works, p. 408. 8vo edition. Charles II. 8vo. p. 40. Lond. 1750.
proper employment of a 1
nisters had work for him a.” T firmed by those who best knew h: of Buckingham, observes, “that 1: quick and lively in little things; soar high enough in great ones, but up with any long attention or apps all sorts of conversation; and tell that, not out of flattery, but for t!:: it, we used to seem ignorant of W?: to us ten times before, as a good con being seen often. Of a wớnde) all his time, and, till of late, setting the fair sex. In the midst o?" industrious and indefatigable on sions, that no man would either to manage it better b.- Sir relating a conversation he has " that he never saw him in bu knew a more agreeable convers: and where,” continués he, “he miliar, great quickness of cons ness of wit, with great varieti observation and truer judgment have imagined by so careless : was natural to him in all he own temper, he desired nothing' and that every body else should' been glad to see the least of his to refuse no man what lie asked. temper made him apt to fall int: whoever had his kindness and con * Burnet, vol. I. p. 93.
de un the
Buckingha immo Lond. 1753.
: orthy persons, inquisitive into natural philoso:other parts of human learning: and particuwhat hath been called the New Philosophy, or ental Philosophy. We did, by agreement, .us meet weekly in London, on a certain day, and discourse of such affairs. Of such num
Dr. John Wilkins, afterwards Bishop of Dr. Jonathan Goddard, Dr. George Ent, '), Dr. Merret, doctors in physick; Mr. ier, then Professor of Astronomy at Gres- Mr. Theodore Haak, a German of the I then resident in London (who, I think, ccasion, and first suggested these meety others. These meetings we held . Goddard's lodgings, in Wood-street, jent place near, on occasion of his
or for grinding glasses for telescopes : and sometimes at a convenient place netimes at Gresham College, or some ing. Our business was, precluding ky and state affairs, to discourse and ophical enquiries, and such as related sick, anatomy, geometry, astronomy, is, magneticks, chemicks, mechanicks, iments; with the state of these stuvated, at home and abroad.— About 649, some of us being removed to Wilkins, then I, and, soon after, Dr. mpany divided. Those in London
there, as before; and we with them, ision to be there. And those of us Dr. Ward, since Bishop of Salisbury; st, now President of Trinity College, Petty, since i Wiliam Petty ; Dr, eminent bh
_ rd; and
grée, he was subject to much weakness and
knotty and ungrateful part of his business, grew more remiss in his application to it, and indulged to his youth and appetite, that license and satisfaction that it desired, and for which he had opportunity enough, and could not be without ministers abundant for any such negociations; the time itself, and the young people thereof, of either sex, having been educated in all the liberty of vice, without reprehension or restrainta." I suppose the reader, by these authorities, will be fully satisfied of the genius and indolence, of Charles; an indolence, contracted whilst abroad, and confirmed by indulgence from his Restoration to his death: which damped his understanding, and made it in a manner useless to those over whom he bare rule. For “ when once the aversion to bear uneasiness taketh place in a mans mind, it doth so check all the passions, that they are dampt into a kind of indifference; they grow faint and languishing, and come to be subordinate to that fundamental maxim, of not purchasing any thing at the price of a difficulty. This made that he had as little eagerness to oblige as he had to hurt men; the motive of his giving bounties, was, rather to make men less uneasy to him, than more easy to themselves ; and yet no ill-nature all this while. He would slide from an asking face, and could guess very well. It was throwing a man off from his shoulders, that leaned upon them with his whole weight;-so that the party was not gladder to receive, than he was to give. It was a kind of implied bargain; though men seldom kept it; being so apt to forget the advantage they had received, that they would presume the king would as
* Clarendon's Continuation, vol. II. p. 38.
little remember the good he had done them, so as to make it an argument against their next request. This principle, of making the love of ease exercise an entire sovereignty in his thoughts, would have been less censured in a private man, than might be in a prince. The consequence of it to the publick, changeth the nature of that quality; or else a philosopher, in his private capacity, might say a great deal to justify it. The truth is, a king is to be such a distinct creature from a man, that their thoughts are to be put in quite a differing 'shape; and it is such a disquieting task to reconcile them, that princes might rather expect to be lamented than to be envied, for being in a station that exposeth them, if they do not do more to answer men's expectations than human nature will allow to The love of ease. is an opiate: it is pleasing for the time, quieteth the spirits ; but it hath its effects, that seldom fail to be most fatal. The immoderate love of ease, maketh à man's mind pay a passive obedience to any thing that happeneth : it reduceth the thoughts, from having desire, to be content a.” Some of these reflexions are extremely just; and I doubt not of the reader's being pleased with them, especially as they tend to illustrate the character of the monarch under consideration. It would be injustice to Charles to omit Dr. Sprat's account of his encourageinent of the Royal Society; as it confirms what Burnet has related in the passage above cited. “When the society," says the writer, “first addressed themselves to his inajesty, he was pleased to express much satisfaction, that this enterprize was begun in his reign. He then represented to them the gravity and difficulty of their work; and assured them of all the kind influence of