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dreadful imprecations on himself, if he did prevari- 1G60. cateb. He was all the while maintained by the presbyterians as their agent, and continued to give them a constant account of the progress of his negotiation in their service, while he was indeed undermining it. This piece of craft was so visible, he having repeated his protestations to as many persons as then grew jealous of him, that when he threw off the mask, about a year after this, it laid a foundation of such a character of him, that nothing could ever bring people to any tolerable thoughts of a man, whose dissimulation and treachery was so well known, and of which so many proofs were to be seen under his own hand.
With the restoration of the king, a spirit of ex-The nation travagant joy spread over the nation, that brought ^th" on with it the throwing off the very professions ofj"n£°)j. virtue and piety: all ended in entertainments andne"drunkenness, which overrun the three kingdoms to such a degree, that it very much corrupted all their morals. Under the colour of drinking the king's health, there were great disorders and much riot every where: and the pretences of religion, both in those of the hypocritical sort, and of the more honest but no less pernicious enthusiasts, gave great advantages, as well as they furnished much matter, to the profane mockers of true piety. Those who had been concerned in the former transactions thought, they could not redeem themselves from the censures and jealousies that those brought on them by any method that was more sure and more easy, than by going into the stream, and laughing
b Sure there was some secret personal cause of all this malice against Sharp. S.
1660. at all religion, telling or making stories to expose both themselves and their party as impious and ridiculous.
The king's The king was then thirty years of age, and, as character. mjgnt nave been supposed, past the levities of youth, and the extravagance of pleasure. He had a very good understanding. He knew well the state of affairs both at home and abroad. He had a softxness of temper, that charmed all who came near him, till they found how little they could depend on good looks, kind words, and fair promises; in which he was liberal to excess, because he intended nothing by them, but to get rid of importunities, and to silence all farther pressing upon him. He seemed to have no sense of religion: both at prayers and sacrament he, as it were, took care to satisfy people, that he was in no sort concerned in that about which he was employed. So that he was very far from being an hypocrite, unless his assisting at those performances was a sort of hypocrisy, (as no doubt it was;) but he was sure not to increase that by any the least appearance of religion. He said once to my self, he was no atheist, but he could not think God would make a man miserable only for taking a little pleasure out of the way. He disguised his popery to the last. But when he talked freely, he could not help letting himself out against the liberty that under the reformation all men took of inquiring into matters of religion: for from their inquiring into matters of religion, they carried the humour farther, to inquire into matters of state. He said often, he thought government was a much safer and easier thing where the authority was believed infallible, and the faith and submission of the people
was implicit: about which I had once much dis- 1660. course with him. He was affable and easy, and loved to be made so by all about him. The great art of keeping him long was, the being easy, and the making everything easy to himc. He had made such observations on the French government, that 94 he thought a king who might be checked, or have his ministers called to an account by a parliament, was but a king in name. He had a great compass of knowledge, though he was never capable of much application or study. He understood the mechanics and physic: 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 was an everlasting talker. He told his stories with a good grace: but they came in his way too often. He had a very ill opinion both of men and women; and did not think that there was either sincerity or chastity in the world out of principle, but that some had either the one or the other out of humour or vanity. He thought that nobody did serve him out of love: and so he was quits with all the world, and loved others as little as he thought they loved him. 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 ministers had work for him. The ruin of his reign, and of all his affairs, was occasioned chiefly by his delivering him
c Eloquence. S.
1660. self up at his first coming over to a mad range of pleasure. One of the race of the Villers, then married to Palmer, a papist, 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 childrend. She was a woman of great beauty, but most enormously vicious 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, which, in so critical a time, required great application: but he did then so entirely trust the earl of Clarendon, that he left all to his care, and submitted to his advices as to so many oracles. c larendon's The earl of Clarendon was bred to the law, and
character. , . , „ .
was like to grow eminent in his profession when the wars began. He distinguished himself so in the house of commons, that he became considerable, and was much trusted all the while the king was at Oxford. He stayed beyond sea following the king's fortune, till the restoration; and was now an absolute favourite, and the chief or the only minister, but with too magisterial a way. He was always pressing the king to mind his affairs, but in vain.
d He had her the first night her to be his, and left her his
he arrived at London; she was estate when he died; but she
then some months gone with was generally understood to be
child of the late countess of long to another, the old earl of
Sussex, whom the king adopted Chesterfield, whom she resem
for his daughter, though lord bled very much both in face
Castlemain always looked upon and person. D.
He was a good chancellor, only a little too rough, \6Go. but very impartial in the administration of justice. ~ He never seemed to understand foreign affairs welle: and yet he meddled too much in them. He had too much levity in his wit, and did not always observe the decorum of his post. He was high, and was apt to reject those who addressed themselves to him with too much contempt. He had such a regard to the king, that when places were disposed of, even otherwise than as he advised, yet he would justify what the king did, and disparage the pretensions of others, not without much scorn; which created him many enemies. He was indefatigable in business, though the gout did often disable him from waiting on the king: yet, during his credit, the king came constantly to him when he was laid up by it.
The next man in favour with the king was the ormond's duke of Ormond: a man every way fitted for a court: of a graceful appearance, a lively wit, and a cheerful temper: a man of great expense, decent even in his vicesf; for he always kept up the form of religion. He had gone through many transactions in Ireland with more fidelity than success. He had made a treaty with the Irish, which was broken by the great body of them, though some few of them adhered still to him. But the whole Irish nation did still pretend, that, though they had broke
e The author had not seen, the master of the rolls, (sir
I believe, the MS. History of Thomas Clarke,) that the lord
Lord Clarendon's Life, written Clarendon never made a decree
by himself. He at least under- in Chancery without the assist
stood foreign affairs better than ance of two of the judges. O. any other of the ministers. f See Cartes History of the
None of them were much Life of this Duke of Ormond,
esteemed for that abroad, as vol. ii. p. 555. See also the
has been said. I was told by Biogr. Brit. p. 899. O.
VOL. I. M