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HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL
LIVES AND WRITINGS
James I. and Charles I.
WITH A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, A GENERAL INDEX, &c.
IN FIVE VOLUMES.
ROBINSON; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN; CADELL
CHARLES, though blessed with a genius capable of great things, applied himself but little to the affairs of government', the only
Charles, though blessed with a genius_ applied himself but little to the affairs of government.] Burnet assures us," he had a very good understanding. He knew well,” adds he, “the state of affairs both at home and abroad. He had a great compass of knowledge; though he was never capable of much application or study. He understood the mechanics, and physick; and was a good chemist, and much set on several preparations of mercury, chiefly the fixing it. He understood navigation well: but above all, he knew the architecture of ships so perfectly, that, in that respect, he was exact rather more than became a prince. His apprehension was quick; and his memory good.--He hated business, and could not be easily brought to mind any: but when it was necessary, and he was set to it, he would stay as long as his miVOL. V.
proper employment of a prince: and, with
nisters had work for him ?.”— This character is confirmed by those who best knew him. Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, observes, “that his understanding was quick and lively in little things, and sometimes would soar high enough in great ones, but unable to keep it up with any long attention or application. Witty in all sorts of conversation; and telling a story so well, thæt, not out of flattery, but for the pleasure of hearing it, we used to seem ignorant of what he had repeated to us ten times before, as a good comedy will bear the being seen often. Of a wớnderful mixture; losing all his time, and, till of late, setting his whole heart on the fair sex. In the midst of all his remissness, so industrious and indefatigable on some particular occasions, that no man would either toil longer, or be able to manage it better b. Sir William Temple, after relating a conversation he had with him, remarks, " that he never saw him in better humour, nor ever knew a more agreeable conversation when he was so : and where,” continues he, he was pleased to be familiar, great quickness of conception, great pleasantness of wit, with great: variety of knowledge, more observation and truer judgment of men, than one would have imagined by so careless and easy a manner as was riàtural to him in all he said or did. From his own temper, he desired nothing but to be easy himself, and that every body else should be so; and would have been glad to see the least of his subjects pleased, and to refuse no man what lie asked. But this softness of temper made him apt to fall into the persuasions of whoever had his kindness and confidence for the time, 2 Burnet, vol. I. p. 93.
Buckingham's Works, vol. II. p. 58. 12mo Lond, 1753.