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was robuft: his strength and dexterity per. upon the king, and increased the public haps unequalled in his kingdom; and his disorders by their faction and insolence. It mape was unblemished in all other respects, was in vain to look for protection from the but that of his legs, which are said to have laws, whose voice, always feeble in those been too long in proportion to his body; times, was not heard in the din of arms : whence he derived the epithet of Long what could not defend the king, was less Shanks. In the qualities of his head, he able to give shelter to any one of his peoequalled the greatest monarchs who have ple; the whole machine of government sat on the English throne. He was cool, was torn in pieces, with fury and violence; penetrating, fagacious, and circumspect. and men, instead of complaining against The remotest corners of the earth founded the manners of the age, and the form of with the fame of his courage: and all over their conftitution, which required the most Europe he was considered as the flower of steady and the most skilful hand to conduct chivalry. Nor was he less consummate in them, imputed all errors to the person who his legislative capacity, than eminent for had the misfortune to be intrusted with the his prowels. He may be ftyled the Eng. reins of empire. Murdered 21 Septemlith Juftinian: for, besides the excellent ber, 1327,
Hume. statutes that were enacted in his reign, he new-modelled the administration of justice, $ 62. Another Character of EDWARD II. so as to render it more sure and summary; Thas perished Edward II. after having he fixed proper bounds to the courts of atoned by his sufferings for all the errors of jurisdiction; settled a new and easy me- his conduct. He is said to have resembled thod of collecting the revenue, and efta. his father in the accomplishments of his blithed wise and effectual methods of pre- person, as well as in his countenance: but serving peace and order among his subjects. in other respects he seems only to have inYet, with all these good qualities, he che herited the defects of his character: for he rihed a dangerous ambition, to which he was cruel and illiberal, without his valour did not scruple to facrifice the good of his or capacity. He had levity, indolence, and country; witness his ruinous war with Scot. irresolution, in common with other weak land, which drained the kingdom of men princes; but the distinguishing foible of his and money, and gave rise to that rancorous character was that unaccountable passion enmity which proved to prejudicial to both for the reigning favourites, to which he sanations. Though he is celebrated for his crificed every other consideration of policy chastity and regular deportment, there is and convenience, and at last fell a misernot in the whole course of his reign, one able victim.
Smollett. instance of his liberality and munificence. He had great abilities, but no genius; and § 63. Character of EDWARD III. was an accomplished warrior, without the The English are apt to consider with
Smollett. peculiar fondness the history of Edward
the Third, and to esteem his reign, as it $ 61. Character of Edward II.
was one of the longest, the most glorious It is not easy to imagine a man more inno- also, which occurs in the annals of the nacent or inoffensive than this unhappy king; tion. The ascendant which they began to nor a prince less fitted for governing that have over France, their rival and national fierce and turbulent people subjected to his enemy, makes them cast their eyes on this authority. He was obliged to devolve on period with great complacency, and fanc. others the weight of governinent which he tifies every measure which Edward emhad neither ability nor inclination to bear: braced for that end. But the domestic the same indolence and want of penetration government is really more admirable led him to make choice of ministers and fa- than his foreign victories; and England vourites, which were not always best quaii. enjoyed, by his prudence and vigour of fied for the trust committed to them. The administration, a longer interval of domesseditious grandees, pleased with his weak. tic peace and tranquillity, than she had ness, and complaining of it, under pretence been blest with in any former period, or of attacking his mini ters, insulted his per- than she experienced for many years after. fon, and invaded his authority; and the 'He gained the affections of the great, and impatient populace, ignorant of the source carbed their licentiousness: he made them of their grievances, threw all the blame feel hi: power, without their daring, or
even being inclined to murmur at it'; his jewels, and leave him without one domeaffable and obliging behaviour, his muni- stic to close his eyes, and do the last offices ficence and generosity, made them submit to his breathless corle. In this deplorable with pleasure to his dominion; his valour condition, berefi of comfort and allfance, and conduct made them successful in most the mighty Edward lay expiring; when a of their enterprizes; and their unquiet priest, not quite so savage as the rest of his spirits, directed against a public enemy, domestics, approached his bed; and, find. had no leisure to breed disturbances, to ing him ftill breathing, began to admi. which they were naturally so much inclin- nitter some comfort to his soul. Edward ed, and which the form of the govern had not yet lost all perception, when he ment seemed so much to authorize. This found himself thus akandoned and forlorn, was the chief benefit which resulted from in the last moments of his life. He was Edward's victories and conquests. His just able to express a deep sense of sorrow foreign wars were, in other repects, nei and contrition for the errors of his conther founded in justice, nor directed to any duct, and died pronouncing the name of very falutary purpose. His attempt against JESUS. the king of Scotland, a minor, and a bro. Such was the piteous and obscure end of ther-in-law, and the revival of his grand- Edward the Third, undoubtedly one of father's claim of superiority over that the greatest princes that ever swayed the kingdom, were both unreasonable and sceptre of England; whether we respect ungenerous : and he allowed himself to be him as a warrior, a lawgiver, a monarch, or too soon seduced by the glaring prospects a man. He poffefied all the romantic spirit of French conqueft, from the acquisition of Alexander; the penetration, the fortiof a point which was practicable, and tude, the polished manners of Julius; the which might really, if attained, have been liberality, the munificence, the wisdom of of lasting utility to his country and to his Augustus Cæsar. He was tall, majestic, finely fuccessors. But the glory of a conqueror shaped, with a piercing eye, and aquiline is so dazzling to the vulgar, and the ani. visage. He excelled all his contemporaries mofity of nations so extreme, that the fruit- in feats of arins, and personal address. He less desolation of so fine a part of Eu- was courteous, affable, and eloquent; of a rope as France is totally disregarded by free deportment, and agreeable conversa, us, and never considered as a blemish in tion; and had the art of commanding the the character or conduct of this prince: affection of his subjects, without seeming and indeed, from the unfortunate state of to solicit popularity. The love of glory human nature, it will commonly happen was certainly the predominant paffion of that a sovereign of great genius, such as Edward, to the gratification of which he Edward, who usually finds every thing did not scruple to sacrifice the feelings of easy in the domestic government, will turn humanity, the lives of his subjects, and the himself towards military enterprizes, where interests of his country. And nothing alone he meets opposition, and where he could have induced or enabled his people has full exercise for his industry and capa- to bear the load of taxes with which they city. Died 21st of June, aged 65, in the were encumbered in his reign, but the 51st year of his reign.
Hume, love and admiration of his person, the fame
of his victories, and the excellent laws and § 64. Another Chara&ter of EDWARD III.
Paracter of EDWARD 111. regulations which the parliament enacted Edward'sconftitution had been impaired with his advice and concurrence. by the fatigues of his youth: so that he
Smollett. began to feel the infirmities of old age, before they approach the common course of $ 65. Charakter of RICHARD II. nature : and now he was seized with a All the writers who have transmitted to malignant fever, attended with eruptions, us the hiltoty of Richard, composed their that toon put a period to his life. When his works during the reign of the Lancaftrian diftemper became so violent, that no hope princes; and candour requires that we of his recovery remained, all his attend. Tould not give entire credit to the reants forsook him, as a bankrupt no longer proaches which have been thrown upon able to requite their services. The un- his memory. But after making all proper grateful ALICE, waiting until the per. abatements, he still appears to have been ceived him in the agonies of death, was so a weak prince, and unfit for government; inhuman as to ilrip him of his rings and less for want of natural parts and capa. city, than of solid judgment and good folute. His pride and resentment prompt. education. He was violent in his temper, ed him to cruelty and breach of faith; profuse in his expences, fond of idle show while his necessities obliged him to fleece and magnificence, devoted to favourites, his people, and degrade the dignity of his and addicted to pleasure; paffions, all character and situation. Though we find of them, the moft inconsistent with a none of his charities on record, all his hisprudent economy, and consequently dan- torians agree, that he excelled all his pre. gerous in a limited and mixed govern- deceffors in itate hospitality, and fed a ment. Had he possessed the talents of thousand every day from his kitchen. gaining, and, ftill more, of overawing his
Smollen. great barons, he might have escaped all the misfortunes of his reign, and been allowed § 67. Anotber Character of RICHARD II, to carry much further his oppreslions over
Richard of Bourdeaux (so called from his people, if he really was guilty of any, without their daring to rebel, or even
the place of his birth) was · remarkmurmur, against him. But when the
ably beautiful and handsome in his pergrandees were tempted, by his want of 101
fon; and doth not seem to be naturally prudence and rigour, to relift his autho
defective, either in courage or understandrity, and execute the moft violent enter. ing. For on fome occasions, particularly prizes upon him, he was naturally led to in the dangerous insurrections of the
crown, he acted with a degree of spirit feek for an opportunity of retaliation ; juftice was neglected; "the lives of the
and prudence superior to his years. But chief nobility Sacrificed ; and all these
his education was miserably neglected;
; evils feem to have proceeded more from a or, ";
or, rather, he was intentionally corrupted settled deugn of establishing arbitrary
and debauched by three ambitious uncles, power than from the infolence of vi&ory,
who, being desirous of retaining the maand the neceflities of the king's fituation,
nagement of his affairs, encouraged him The manners, indeed, of the age, were the topena
He to spend his time in the company of difchief sources of such violence: Jaws, which folute young people of both sexes, in a
continual course of feasting and diffipation. were feebly executed in peaceable times, lost all their authority in public convul.
By this means, he contracted a taste for fions. Both parties were alike guilty; or, pomp and pleature; a
pomp and pleasure, and a dislike to busiif any difference may be remarked bs neis. The greatest foible in the character tween them, we shall find the authority of .
f of this unhappy prince was an excessive the crown, being more legal, was com
* fondness for, and unbounded liberality to monly carried, when it prevailed, to less his favourites, which enraged his uncles. desperate extremities than those of aristopa
en particularly the Duke. of Gloucester, and Hume.
disgusted luch of the nobility as did not
partake of his bounty. He was an affec8 66. Another Character of RICHARD II. tionate hulband, a generous master, and a
faithful friend; and if he had received a Such was the last conclusion of Richard proper education, might have proved a II. a weak, vain, frivolous, inconstant seat and good king. prince; without weight to balance the scales of government, without discernment $68. Character of Henry IV... to choose a good ministry; withoui virtue The great popularity which Henry ento oppose the measures, or advice, of evil joyed before he attained the crown, and counsellors, even where they happened to which had so much aided him in the acqui. clash with his own principles and opinion. fition of it, was entirely loft, many years He was a dupe to flattery, a slave to oftene before the end of his reign, and he gotation, and not more apt to give up his
verned the people more by terror than af. realon to the suggestion of lycophants, and fection, more by his own policy than their vicious ministers, than to sacrifice those
sense of duty and allegiance. When men
fenfe ministers to his safety. He was idle, pro
came to reflect in cold blood on the crimes fuse, and profligate; and, though brave which led him to the throne; and the re. by starts, naturally pufillanimous, and irre bellion against his prince; the deposition
of a lawful king, guilty sometimes of op• He was starved to death in prison, or mur.
pression, but more frequently of impru. dered, after having been dethroned, A. D. 1399, in the year of his age 34 ; of his reign 23.
dences; the exclusion of the true heir ;
3 B +
the murder of his sovereign and near nious, though juftly censured for want of relation; these were such enormities, as economy, and ill-judged profugon. He drew on him the hatred of his subje&ts, was tame from caution, humble from fear, fanctified all the rebellions against him, cruel from policy, and rapacious from inand made the executions, though not re- digence. He rose to the throne by perfidy markably severe, which he found necessary and treason ; and established his authority for the maintenance of his authority, ap- in the blood of his subjects, and died a pear cruel as well as iniquitous to his peo- penitent for his fios, because he could no ple. Yet, without pretending to apolo- longer enjoy the fruit of his transgressions. gize for these crimes, which must ever be
Smollett. held in detestation, it may be remarked, that he was insensibly led into this blame
$ 70. Character of Henry V. able conduct, by a train of incidents, which This prince poflefled many eminent virfew men possess virtue enough to with- tues; and, if we give indulgence to ambistand. The injustice with which his pre- tion in a monarch, or rank it, as the vulgar decessor had treated him, in first condemn- do, among his virtues, they were unstained ing him to banishment, and then despoiling by any considerable blemish; his abilities him of his patrimony, made him naturally appeared equally in the cabinet and in the think of revenge, and of recovering his field : the boldness of his enterprizes was loft rights; the headstrong zeal of the peo- no less remarkable than his perional vaple hurried him into the throne, the care lour in conducting them. He had the of his own security, as well as his ambition, talent of attaching his friends by affability, made him an usurper; and the steps have and gaining his enemies by address and always been fo few between the prisons of clemency. princes and their graves, that we need not The English, dazzled by the luttre of wonder that Richard's fate was no excep. his character, still more by that of his tion to the general rule. All these con- victories, were reconciled to the defects of fiderations made the king's situation, if he his title. The French almoft forgot he retained any sense of virtue, very much to was an enemy; and his care of main. be lamented; and the inquietudes, with taining juflice in his civil adminiftration, which he posiefed his envied greatness, and preserving discipline in his armies, and the remorses by which, it is said, he made some amends to both nations for the was continually haunted, rendered him an calamities inseparable from those wars in object of our pity, even when seated upon which his short reign was almost occupied. the throne. But it must be owned, that That he could forgive the earl of Marche, his prudence, vigilance, and foresight in who had a better right to the throne than maintaining his power, were admirable; himself, is a sure proof of his magnani. his command of temper remarkable ; his inity; and that the earl relied so on his courage, both military and political, with- friendship, is no less a proof of his esta. out blemish : and he posreffed many qua- blished character for candour and sincerity. lities, which fitted him for his high ftation, There remain, in history, few instances and which rendered his usurpation of it, of such mutual trust; and still fewer, where though pernicious in after times, rather neither found reason to repent it. falutary during his own reign, to the The exterior figure of this great prince, English nation.
as well as his deportment, was engaging, Died 1413. Aged 43. Hume. His stature was somewhat above the mid§ 69. Another Character of Henry IV.
dle fize; his countenance beautiful, his
limbs genteel and slender, but full of vi. Henry IV. was of a middle stature, well- gour; and he excelled in all warlike and proportioned, and perfect in all the exer. manly exercises. cises of arms and chivalry; his counte- Died 31st August, 1422 : in the year of nance was severe, rather than serene, and his age 34; of his reign, the ioth. Hume. his disposition sour, sulien, and reserved : he pofíefled a great thare of courage, forti $71. Another Chara&ter of Henry V. tude, and penetration; was naturally im- Henry was tall and fender, with a long perious, though he bridled his temper with neck, and engaging aspect, and limbs of a great deal of caution; superstitious the most elegant turn. He excelled all the though without the least tincture of virtue youth of that age, in agility, and the exand true religion; and meanly parfimo. ercise of arms; was hardy, patient, labo
rious, and more capable of enduring cold, power, it is not easy for us, at this distance hunger, and fatigue, than any individual of time, to determine. There remain no in his army. His valour was such as no 'proofs on record of any considerable viodanger could startle, and no difficulty op- lation of the laws, except in the death of pose; nor was his policy inferior to his the Duke of Gloucester, which was a pri. courage.
vate crime, formed no precedent, and was He managed the diffensions among his but too much of a piece with the usual feenemies with such address, as spoke him rocity and cruelty of the times. consummate in the arts of the cabinet. He fomented their jealousy, and converted § 73. SMOLLET T's Account of the Death their mutual resentment to his own ad- of HENRY VI. with some Strictures of vantage.
Character, is as follows. Henry possessed a self-taught genius,
This insurrection* in all probability haftthat blazed out at once, without the aid of inftruction and experience: and a fund of
ened the death of the unfortunate Henry, natural fagacity, that made ample amends
who was found dead in the Tower, in for all these defects. He was chaste, tem
which he had been confined since the reperate, moderate, and devout, scrupulously
storation of Edward. The greater part just in his administration, and severely
of historians have alledged, that he was exa& in the discipline of his army ; upon
assassinated by the Duke of Gloucester, who which he knew his glory and success,
was a prince of the most brutal disposiin a great measure, depended. In a word,
tion; while some moderns, from an affecit most be owned, he was without an equal
tation of fingularity, affirm that Henry died in the arts of war, policy, and government.
of grief and vexation. This, no doubt, But we cannot be so far dazzled with his
might have been the case; and it must be great qualities, as to overlook the defects
owned, that nothing appears in history, in his character. His pride and imperious
from which either Edward or Richard temper loft him the hearts of the French
could be convicted of having contrived or
perpetrated his murder: but, at the same nobility, and frequently fell out into out. rage and abuse; as at the fiege of Melun,
time, we must observe some concurring cir. when he treated the Marechal l'Isle d'Adam
cumstances that amount to strong presumpwith the utmost indignity, although that
tion against the reigning monarch. Henry nobleman had given him no other offence,
was of a hale constitution, but just turned of than that of coming into his presence in
fifty, naturally insensible of affli&ion, and plain decent apparel.
hackneyed in the vicissitudes of fortune, so
that one would not expect he should have Smollett.
died of age and infirmity, or that his life $72. Hume's Account of Henry VI. would have been affected by grief arising
(for there is no regular Charakter of this from his last disaster. His sudden death Prince given by this Historian) is expreled was suspicious, as well as the conjuncture at in the following Manner.
which he died, immediately after the sup. In this manner finished the reign of
· pression of a rebellion, which seemed to de. Henry VI. who, while yet in his cradle,
clare that Edward would never be quiet, had been proclaimed king both of France
while the head of the house of Lancaster and England, and who began his life with
remained alive: and lastly, the suspicion is the most splendid prospects which any
confirmed by the characters of the reigning prince in Europe had ever enjoyed. The
king and his brother Richard, who were revolution was unhappy for his people, as
bloody, barbarous, and unrelenting. Very it was the source of civil wars; but was
different was the disposition of the ill-fated almost entirely indifferent to Henry him.
Henry, who, without any princely virtue or self, who was utterly incapable of exercis
qualification, was totally free from cruelty ing his authority, and who, provided he met
or revenge: on the contrary, he could noi, perpetually with good usage, was equally
without reluctance, consent to the punisheasy, as he was equally enslaved, in the
ment of those malefactors who were sacri. hands of his enemies and of his friends.
ficed to the public safety; and frequently His weakness, and his disputed title, were
sustained indignities of the groffest nature, the chief causes of his public misfortunes :
without discovering the least mark of rebut whether his queen and his ministers
sentment. , He was chaste, pious, compaswere not guilty of some great abuses of Revolt of the bastard of Falconbridge.