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of goods, and when money was not to be had he took property to the full value of the claim he had upon it. The result was that his treasury became a good deal like an old curiosity shop, a coal shed, or a dealer's in marine stores; for anything that came in Richard's way was perfectly acceptable. The principle of poundage was applied to everything, even in quantities less than a pound, and he would, even on a few ounces of sugar, sack his share of the saccharine. If he required it for his own use he never scrupled to intercept the housewife on her way from the butcher's, and cut off the chump from the end of the chop; nor did he hesitate, when he felt disposed, to lop the very lollipop in the hands of the schoolboy. This principle of allowing poundage to the king was in the highest degree inconvenient. It rendered the meat-safe a misnomer, inasmuch as it was never safe from royal rapacity.
It has been said of Richard, that he would have been well qualified to reign, had he been legally entitled to the throne; or, in other words, that he would have been a good ruler if he had not been a bad sovereign. To us this seems to savour of the old anomaly—a distinction without a difference. He certainly carried humbug to the highest possible point, for he exhibited it upon the throne, which serves as a platform to make either vice or virtueas the case may be-conspicuous.
It is urged by those writers who have defended him, that the crimes he committed were only those necessary to secure the crown; but this is no better plea than that of the highwayman who knocks a traveller on the head because the blow is necessary to the convenient picking of the victim's pockets. Richard's crimes might have been palliated in some trifling degree, had they been essential to the recovery of his own rights, but the
case is different when his sanguinary career was only pursued that he might get hold of that which did not belong to him. It is true he was ambitious; but if a thief is ambitious of possessing our set of six silver tea-spoons, we are not to excuse him because he knocks us down and stuns us, as a necessary preliminary to the transfer of the property from our own to our assailant's possession. The palliators of Richard's atrocities declare that he could do justice in matters where his own interest was not concerned; but this fact, by proving that he knew better, is in fact an aggravation of the faults he was habitually guilty of. It has been insinuated that when he had got all he wanted, he might have improved, but that by killing him after he had come to the throne, his contemporaries gave him no chance of becoming respectable. It must be clear to every reasonable mind that the result, even had it been satisfactory, would never have been worth the cost of obtaining it, and that in tolerating Richard's pranks, on the chance of his becoming eventually a good king, his subjects might well have exclaimed le jeu n'envaut pas la chundelle. In the vexata questio of the cause of the death of the princes, the guilt has usually been attributed to Richard, because he reaped the largest benefit from their decease; but this horrible doctrine would imply that a tenant for life is usually murdered by the remainder-man, and that the enjoyer of the interest of Bank Stock is frequently cut off by the reversioner who is entitled to the principal. We admit there is a strong case against Richard upon other more reasonable evidence: and thus from the magisterial bench of History do we commit him to take his trial, and be impartially judged by the whole of his countrymen.-Gilbert à Beckett's Comic History of England.
A THANKSGIVING FOR HIS HOUSE,
Lord, Thou hast given me a cell,
A little house, whose humble roof
Under the spars of which I lie
Where Thou, my chamber for to ward,
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep Me while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
And yet the threshold of my door
Who hither come, and freely get
Like as my parlour, so my hall,
A little buttery, and therein
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Some brittle sticks of thorn or brier
Close by whose living coal I sit,
Lord, I confess, too, when I dine,
And all those other bits that be
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Of water cress,
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent: And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
'Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink,
Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping
That I should render for my part
But the acceptance-that must be,
Doubtless the pleasure is as great
The following epitaph, by Bernard de la Monnoye, is on De la Riviere, bishop of Langres, who had left a hundred crowns for that person who should write his epitaph :
Ce git un très grand personage,
Qui ni trompa jamais, qui fut toujours fort sage.
C'est trop mentir, pour cent écus.
CHARACTER OF HAMPDEN,
Mr. Hampden was a man of much greater cunning, and, it may be, of the most discerning spirit, and of the greatest address and insinuation to bring anything to pass which he desired, of any man of that time, and who laid the design deepest. He was a gentleman of a good extraction, and a fair fortune; who, from a life of great pleasure and license, had on a sudden retired to extraordinary sobriety and strictness, and yet retained his usual cheerfulness and affability; which, together with the opinion of his wisdom and justice, and the courage he had showed in opposing the ship money, raised his reputation to a very great height, not only in Buckinghamshire, where he lived, but generally throughout the kingdom. He was not a man of many words, and rarely begun the discourse, or made the first entrance upon any business that was assumed; but a very weighty speaker, and after he had heard a full debate, and observed how the house was like to be inclined, took up the argument, and shortly, and clearly, and craftily so stated it, that he commonly conducted it to the conclusion he desired; and if he found he could not do that, he was never without the dexterity to divert the debate to another time, and to prevent the determining anything in the negative, which might prove inconvenient in the future. He made so great a show of civility, and modesty, and humility, and always of mistrusting his own judgment, and esteeming his with whom he conferred for the present, that he seemed to have no opinions or resolutions but such as he contracted from the information and instruction he received upon the discourses of others, whom he had a wonderful art of governing, and leading into his principles and