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CHAP. with tolerable intelligence in that language,
must be admitted to be a rare and uncom1666.
It was the great abilities he displayed as a man of business in the Irish parliament, (for however excellent his compositions are, there are no proofs of his being an eloquent speaker either in the Irish or the British senate,) that recommended him to the patronage of the duke of Ormond ; and it was, the peculiar eulogium of that illustrious nobleman, to have selected two such characters as sir Robert Southwell and fir William Temple for foreign embassies, which were then filled in a very different manner from what we have lately seen; witness the cotemporary designations of those great characters to Holland and to Portugal, (of which
the name of the second Catherine, has distinguished this extraordinary man by her favour and protection, and seemed desirous to have induced him to settle in Russia, as one whose knowledge and ability, whenever or wherever they shall be displayed, must be a signal and valuable acquisition to any country.
countries both of them have written the CHAP.
IV. best accounts *,) of lord Hollis at Paris, and s
1666. of Mr. Godolphin, afterwards lord treasurer, in Spain.
His friendship with the duke of Ormond was uniform and constant through all the changes of fortune. “ I confess,” says fir William Temple in his first letter to his Grace, “ I am extremely pleased with any “ testimony of your favour and recollection “ of me, which I must account to be the “ best, as I must ever consider them as the “ first of my good fortunes; nor shall I be
ever so much pleased with any lucky hit " that may happen to me in public employments,
any other respect, than from “ fome occasion to testify the gratitude and “ resentment of kindness shewn to me, when " I was idle and unknown."
To dwell upon a character and upon a career which was so brilliant and so well
* Sir Robert Southwell's History of the Revolutions of Portugal to the year 1667.
CHAP. known would be superfluous, though some
enlargement upon such a subject is almost 1656.
After his success in his first commission to Van Galen, the warlike bishop of Munster, in one thousand six hundred and sixty-five; after his good fortune in his first embassy, his address in negociating the triple alliance, where the first principles of the Dutch conftitution were superseded by the representation of an over-ruling necessity, which had remained inviolate since the union of Utrecht; after the joy with which he was received by the Dutch deputies upon his second embassy, who told him that his appearance among them at that time was like that of the swallow in spring, the certain harbinger and lure forerunner of fair weather; after the brilliant testimony of his merit from De Wit and from the States; after all those shining qualities and uncommon successes; we cannot help lamenting his fate in his last embassy, and how much he was traversed by Du Cross, a wretched
minion, who was dispatched from the CHAP. dutchess of Portsmouth's bed-chamber, when the second Charles became the miserable
2666. pensioner of Lewis the fourteenth, and was induced to abandon his allies in the treaty of Nimeguen.
As no ambassador ever kept up the
port and dignity of his character * better than fir William Temple, it is still more to the dis
* Of the state with which sir William Temple travelled as ambasador to the congress of Nimeguen, the following account of his pafling the Pont Volant there, will be found very curious and satisfactory. Vol. ii. page 342. Oct. Ed.
“ The river of Nimeguen is very rapid in the midst « of the stream which lies near the town, and spreads
very broad upon the other side to the Betuwe, being “ upon flat grounds: the first part of it is passed by a “ very large ferry-boat, which held at once my two “ coaches and fix horses, one waggon, and my trunks, « and eight faddle horses, and would have received many “ more. This boat is of a contrivance fo fingular as “ well as fo commodious, that I have much wondered “ never to have seen it practised in any other place; “ for the force of the stream drives the boat across the
C H A P. grace of that court, that the arrears of his
appointments were never discharged, and *1666.
that he was no gainer, perhaps a loser, by
It was his maxim, that the surest rule of deception in an ambassador was to speak
“ river without the least pains of the men, being kept “ to its course by a strong cable extended from one “ fide to the other, and fastened to a pulley set up for " that purpose in the boat; so that no stress of wea“ther hinders this passage, and the harder the stream “ runs, the fooner it is made. Where the river grows « shallow and the current slack, on the Betuwe side, it “ is supplied by a bridge of planks for about two hun« dred paces, which are ill kept, many loose or « shaking, and no defence on the sides. When my « coaches were upon this bridge, the cannon of the “ town began to fire, and to continued all the while I “ was upon the river; which was a piece of civility "s well understood: but my horses were so unruly with " that noise and the clatter of the planks, that they w were much likelier to have carried me into the river “ than into the boat : but when, with the help of my “ fervants on foot that led them, we got in there, we “ were as safe as in a house, and got well away to the “ town, where I landed at fir Lionel Jenkins' house, « and staid there till late in the evening to avoid any “ visits or ceremonies that night.”.