Page images
PDF
EPUB

BIOGRAPHICAL

Α Ν Ε C D Ο Τ Ε. S

AND

CHARACTERS.

[ocr errors]

BIOGRAPHICAL

ANECDOTES AND CHARACTERS.

CHARACTER OF James I. KING OF SCOTLAND.

[From the first Volume of Mr. PINKERTON's History of SCOTLAND

under the House of STUART.]

“A

FTER two weak and in his character; his hours of leisure

active reigns, and two re- being frequently dedicated to elegencies of no superior character, a gant writing, and miniature paintmonarch is to succeed, whose go. ing, to mechanical arts, and to the vernment is to be distinguished for cultivation of the garden and the its novelty and vigour; and the orchard. house of Stuart is at last to know a “ The features of his government fovereign. James had now attain- it is more difficult to discriminate. ed his thirtieth year; and his prime If we believe some writers, not of life was yet further recommend- less than three thousand men were ed by every advantage which na. put to death in the two first years tural talents, and a complete edu• of his reign; and after the inroad cation, could bestow. In person of Donald Balloch, three hundred he was rather under the middle highland banditti met with the bize, but endued with such firm- fame fate. Happily these matters ness and agilily as to excel in every are quite unknown to contempo manly exercise. In wrestling, in rary and authentic monuments of the managernent of the bow, or our hiftory: the justice of James the spear, in throwing the quoit, fell only on a few nobles, and some in rinning, in horsemanship, he chiefs of clans; but the numerous yielded to tione. But his mental dependants of those victions of eabilities were yet more conspicu- quitable severity embraced every ous. A man of feience and learn. occasion to excite discontents, and ing, an excellent poet, a master of propagate falsehoods against the go. music, the fame of his acconiplish. vernment, falsehoods which have ments reflected glory even on the even past into the page of history, throne. Illuftrious iu every per- for one of the misfortunes of the sonal virtue, free from any personal house of Stuart has consisted in the vice, his very amusements adorned prejudices of several Scotish hifto.

1

rians. If any blame must fall, let latter as their own, and faw not it fall where it ought, upon the that the king in crushing the arismis-rule of the house of Albany. tocracy was doing the most effenTo a people who had lived for half tial service to his people. The a century under a loose and dele- plans of James were sagacious and gated government, and who had profound, but sometimes incur the been accustomed to regard licence charge of temerity; and while as liberty, it is no wonder that the they partake of the greatness of gepunishinent of crimes seemed quite nius, they are limited by the want a new and strange cruelty: that a of a sufficient power in the Scotish salutary strength of government ap- monarchy for their complete exe. peared despotism : that a neces. cution. In a word, Janies is fully sary and legal taxation assumed entitled to the uncommon characthe lhape of tyrannic extortion. ter of a great sovereign, in the arts The commons, led by the nobles, of government and of peace," absurdly regarded the cause of the

The Life of Pope Leo X.

[From Mr.Noble's Memoirs of the ILLUSTRIOUS HOUSE OF MEDICI.)

"GO

NIOVANNI, a younger son at the lowest ebb, and seemed

of Lorenzo the Magnifi. Ginking into ruin. The Pisans, hav. cent, obtained by the care of his ing been joined by Genoa and Lucfather a cardinal's hat, when only ca, bid defiance to the Florentines; fourteen years of age, it having instead of acting only upon the debeen conferred upon him by the fensive, they attacked and took favour of pope Innocent VIII. the Arezzo. Cortona fell a vi&im to friend of Lorenzo. Froin bis high Lodovico Sforza, surnamed the rank, and the youth of his brother Moor, duke of Milan, whose fears Pietro's children, he was set, by the of France only kept him from layMedici, at the head of his family, ing liege to the capital; and when to whom they looked up for pro- this perfidious monster was, in tection in the grievous misfortunes 1500, expelled his dominions by that overwhelmed thein.

Lewis xil. it gave no advantage “ The cardinal had been includ- to Florence; and to fill up the ed in the profcription which his measure of her misfortunes, 'Bali. brother's ill condut bad drawn one, her general, deferred to her upon the Medici, and he had un. enemies. dergone a series of ex raurdinary “ Froni these misfortunes, and adventures; but he found in the the unhappy divisions in the repubcourts of Guido and fiancesco, lic, Giovanni flattered himself be dukes of Urbina, a friendly aly. might be able to procure the return lum

of himselt and his family, especia “ Florence, it must be remarkally as cardinal fo za, as it united ed, after the death of Pietro, was by fimilitude of lortunes, declared his interest to be inseparably the they perceived, that they were neifame with that of the Medici.' But ther so rich nor so happy as before all these pleasing appearances va. the expullion of the latter. nithed; cardinal Sforza died; Pisa “ Soderini too was the ally of was deserted by her allies; and car- France, who had treated the com. dinal de la Rovere, the nephew of monwealth with an excess of haughSixtus IV. became pope, O&t. 17, tiness. Great numbers of the citis 1503, fucceeding Pius lll. 'who zens were secretly attached to the had survived bois election only a Medici from friend thip, interest, month. The new pontiff took the or gratitude, and not a few from name of Julius II. and one of his fear and the love of change, which first acts of power was, to declare always has its charms with the pohimself the 'ally of Florence, with pulace. whom he first signed a treaty, and “ No person could be better ad. then a peace. Florence, by this apted to profit by these favourable extraordinary alteration, regained conjunctures than Giovanni; he her loft dominions, and civil dif- poffeffed every requisite to please, cord subsiding, the Medici seemed was in the prime of his life, handfor ever excluded her walls. some, graceful, polite, affable,

“ Giovanni's drooping hopes, magnificent, and liberal. So many however, were soon raised again fplendid qualities, clothed with by the folly of Soderini, who had the cardinalate, and invested with exasperated his new ally, the pape, both the legatinelhips of Perugia by imprudently permitting a genes and Bologna, with the recollection ral council, called by Lewis XII. , of his father's great merit, confirmto fit at Pisa. In revenge for this ed the wavering, and won new insult, and to take from the French partizans. The religious looked a power that was their great fup- upon him as the mediator between port, his holiness determined to them and heaven, and the young restore the Medici, as it would ne- nobility trusted to bin to support cessarily destroy Soderini, who was them in their extravagancies. at the head of the republic, and in “ In this crisis nothing could be his stead place Giovanni, who was, more opportune than the gonfaboth from interest and inclination, lonier's joining the French in their the enemy of a nation that he could atteinpts upon Milan; as it connot endure.

vinced Julius that he and France “ Several favourable circum- were not to be separated, and stances occurred to promote this determined him no longer to dechange. The Florentines, disguft- fer the ruin of his interest in ed with Soderini's impolitic con- Florence by the recal of the Meduet, of having himself declared dici. gonfalonier for life, 'in imitation of Upon the eve, as Giovanni supCæsar's perpetual dictatorship, were posed, of this being accomplished, convinced that they were no more he saw himself, by the loss of the safe under him than they had been battle of Ravenna, a prisoner to before the expulsion of the Me. Lewis XII of which Julius was dici, nor that they enjoyed more no sooner informed, than, by a mom freedom under the government of nitory addressed to the conqueror, Soderini than they had done un. he demanded his liberation. der that of the exiled family; and “ Giovanni at the same time re

« PreviousContinue »