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the truth, because men would never believe CH A P.
IV. those ministers. to be fincere: a maxim in contradiction to that infamous rule of fir 1666. Henry Wooton's, that an ambassador was a man deputed to tell lies for the benefit of his country.
* The consequence of his character, and of his sincerity, was so great, that the interests of rival nations and of contending parties were deposited in his hands, as in a sacred afylum of probity and honour; and mankind were charmed with the proof of that well-known but neglected aphorism, “ that honesty is “ the best policy;" contrary to the opinion of those reptiles who too often glide into public employments, by the miserable shifts of cunning and deceit; who place the reputation of wisdom in the accumulation of wealth, and in the exercise of that instinct, which mankind possess in common with the meanest and most contemptible animals.
The retirement of this great man has bequeathed the most invaluable legacy to
CHAP. pofterity. Of the taste and elegance of his
writings too much can never be said, illu1666.
minated as they are by that probity and candour which pervade them, and those charms which render truth irresistible.
Though other writers may be more the objects of imitation to the scholar, yet his style is certainly the best adapted to the politician and the man of fashion : nor would such an opinion be given, were it not for an anecdote of Swift which I had from the late Mr. Sheridan, who told me the Dean always recommended him as the best model, and had repeatedly said that the style of fir William Temple was the easiest, the most liberal, and the most brilliant in our language.
When we consider the contempt of wealth, the disinterestedness of Temple; when we perceive, that in his whole life, his thoughts were ever turned, rather upon how much less he wanted, than how much more; when we consider that his promise to Charles
the second, That he would live for the re- CHAP.
IV. mainder of his days as good a subject as any he had, but would never more engage 1666. in public employments, was most religiously kept, even after that Revolution, of which he himself had been a primary cause, by the negociation of the prince's match with Queen Mary; we must recognize that true genuine definition of a man of honour, which may be truly explained, by a scrupulous attachment to professions and engagements.
In a word, when we consider his probity, his disinterestedness, his contempt of wealth, the genuine beauty of his style, which was as brilliant, as harmonious, and as pure as his life and manners; when we reflect upon the treasures which he has bequeathed by his example and by his works to his country, which no man ever loved better, or esteemed more; we cannot avoid considering sir William Temple as one of the greatest characters which has appeared upon the political stage ; and he may be juftly classed
CHAP, with the greatest names of antiquity, and
with the most brilliant characters which 1666. adorn and illustrate the Grecian or Ro
CH A P. v.
the Irish Parliament.-Conferences.--Pub-
Sessions. UPON a review of the early transactions CHAP.
of the Irish parliament, the irregularity : of the periods of their meeting, and the frequent and long intervals in the convention of that assembly, are most conspicuous. .
From the second to the eleventh, and from the thirteenth to the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth years of the reign of Elizabeth, parliaments were not convened in Ireland.
From thence, to the twelfth and thirteenth years of James the first, and from this lastperiod till the year one thousand fix hun. dred and thirty-four-five, and from that