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his morals, he was one of the most perfect
my own peace, by persecuting and betraying my brethren, more innocent and worthy than myself. I must live by just means, and serve to just ends, or not at all, after such a manifestation of the ways by which it is intended the king shall govern. I should have renounced any place of favour, into which the kindness and industry of my friends might have advanced me, when I found those that were better than I were only fit to be destroyed. I had formerly some jealousies : the fraudulent proclamation for indemnity increased them; the imprisonment of those three men, and turning out all the officers of the army, contrary to promise, confirmed me in my resolutions not to returna.”
What noble sentiments are here ! All antiquity cannot produce a finer than the letter in which they are contained: nor do the names of Brutus, or Timoleon, do more honour to ancient Greece and Rome, than Algernon Sidney's to England. We shall, hereafter, see him act with equal dignity in the last scene of life; when the injustice of the prince towards him, which is here feared, was made conspicuous to all .
" Hail those old patriots ; on whose tongue
See note 52.
* Brown's Letters, vol. I. p. 62. 8vo. Lond. 1705.
profligates to be met with in history; his
In shoals, unnotic'd and forgot,
He was most profligate in point of morals.] Many princes have practised gallantry; many kings lived in adultery: but, for the most part, they have had some regard to decency; some reverence for their characters. But Charles kept no measures : he spoke, and did, those things which are hardly to be mentioned without blushing. Those who will see them revealed, need only read, Butler's Court Burlesqued, Rochester's. and Marvel's Satires, and some other poets of the age. Writers of this kind are generally, indeed, supposed to heighten; but, I believe, if we attend to facts, we shall find them to have exceeded but little on the occasion
“ He was apter to make broad allusions upon any thing that gave the least occasion, than was altogether suitable with the very good breeding,” says lord Halifax, “ he shewed in most other things. The company he kept, whilst abroad, had so used him to that sort of dialect; that he was so far from thinking it a fault, or indecency, that he made it a matter of rallery upon those who could not prevail upon themselves to join in it. As a man who hath a good stomach loveth, generally, to talk of meat; so, in the vigour of his age, he began that style, which, by degrees, grew so natural to him, that, after he ceased to do it out of pleasure, he continued to do it out of custom. The hypocrisy of the former times inclined men to think they could not shew too great an aversion to it; and that helped to
adulteries being open, abandoned, and ac
encourage this unbounded liberty of talking without the restraints of decency which were before observed. In his more familiar conversations with the ladies, even they must be passive if they would not enter into it. How far sounds, as well as objects, may have their effects to raise inclination, might be an argument to him to use that style; or whether using liberty, at its full stretch, was not the general inducement without any particular motives to ita."-Nor are we to wonder at all at this : since, according to the duke of Ormonde, “his majesty spent most of his time with confident young men, who abhorred all discourse that was serious, and in the liberty they assumed in drollery and raillery, preserved no reverence towards God or man; but laughed at all sober men, and even at religion itself b.”-Nothing, indeed, if we believe Clarendon, could be more abandoned than the companions of this king. -Mr. May (of the privy purse), speaking of the fire of London, hardly then extinguished, " presumed to assure the king, that this was the greatest blessing God had ever conferred upon him, his restoration only excepted: for the walls and gates being now burned and thrown down of that rebellious city, which was always an enemy to the crown, his majesty would never suffer them to repair and build them up again, to be a bit in his mouth, and a bridle upon his neck: but would keep all open, that his troops might enter upon them whenever he thought necessary for his service; there being no other way to govern the rude multitude, but by force." -What a vile
* Character of K. Charles II. p. 30. vol. II. p. 85. * Id. vol. III. p. 675.
companied with cruelties to his
to his queen,
miscreant! -But to proceed. The duke of Buckingham observes, “that, in his pleasures, he was rather abandoned than luxurious; and, like our female libertines, apter to be debauched for the satisfaction of others; than to seek, with choice, where most to please himself. I am of opinion also, that, in his latter times, there was as much of laziness as of love, in all those hours he passed among his inistresses : who, after all, served only to fill up his seraglio; while a bewitching kind of pleasure, called sauntering, and talking without any constraint, was the true sultana queen he delighted in.” — Burnet is of opinion, “ that the ruin of his reign, and of all his affairs, was occasioned, chiefly, by his delivering himself up, at his first coming over, to a mad range of pleasure. One of the race of the Villars," adds he, “then married to Palmer, soon after made earl of Castlemain, who afterwards being separated from him, was advanced to be duchess of Cleveland, was his first and longest mistress, by whom he had five children. She was a woman of great beauty, but most enormously vitious and ravenous; foolish, but imperious; very uneasy to the king; and always carrying on intrigues with other men, while yet she pretended she was jealous of him. His passion for her, and her strange behaviour towards him, did so disorder him, that often he was not master of himself, nor capable of minding business b." In another place, the same writer says, “ He delivered himself up to a most enormous course of vice, without any sort of restraint, even from the consideration of the nearest relations. The most studied extrava
* Buckingham's Works, vol. II. p. 57.
b Burnet, vol. I. p. 94.
which few men, but himself, would have
gancies that way seemed, to the very last, to be much delighted in and pursued by hima."--But enough of these general characters. Let us now proceed to facts.-Charles, we have seen, whilst abroad, entertained a commerce with the sex. On his restoration, Mrs. Palmer became his mistress : but being married to Catherine of Portugal, May 21, 1662, it was naturally expected that he would break with the mistress, or, at least, keep his acquaintance with her as private as possible. But marriage made no alteration in him. So far was he from making a secret of his adultery, that he brought his lady under the queen's nose, and insisted on her being appointed of the bedchamber. Some persons, it seems, remonstrated to him on the subject: but the effect it had will be seen from the following copy of an original letter, which is known to be genuine by some of the most respectable personages in England. It was written to lord Clarendon from Hampton Court, Thursday morning (without the day of the month, or date of the year), in these terins:
“ I forgott, when you weare here last, to desire you give Brodericke good councell not to meddle any more with what concernes my lady Castlemaine, and to let him have a care how he is the author of any scandalous reports; for if I find him guilty of any such thing, I will make him repent it to the last moment of his life. And now I am entered on this matter, I think it very necessary to give you a little good councell in it, least you may think that, by making a farther stirr in the businesse, you may divert me from my resolution;