« PreviousContinue »
dangerous neighbour; an unkind and un $ 47. Charakter of HENRY I.
This prince was one of the most actreasury; and, if he poslefled abilities, he complished that has filled the English lay so much under the government of im- throne; and possessed all the qualities both petuous paflions, that he made little use of body and mind, natural and acquired, of them in his administration; and, he which he attained: his person was manly:
which could fit him for the high station to indulged intirely the domineering policy. his countenance engaging; his eyes clear, which suited his temper, and which, if fupported, as it was in him, with courage of his address encouraged those who might
serene, and penetrating. The affability and vigour, proves often more successful in disorderly times, than the deepest fore- be overawed by the sense of his dignity or fight and most refined artifice. The mo
his wisdom; and though he often indulged numents which remain of this prince in
his facetious humour, he knew how to England are, the Tower, Westminster-Hall, temper it with discretion, and ever kept and London Bridge, which he built, Died with his courtiers. His superior eloquence
at a distance from all indecent familiarities August 2, 1100, aged 40. Hume.
and judgment would have given him an § 46. Anuther Character of William afcendant, even if he had been born in a RUFUS.
private station; and his personal bravery
would have procured him respect, even Thus fell William *, furnamed Rufus, though it had been less supported by art from his red hair and florid complexion, and policy. By his great progress in after he had lived four-and-forty years, literature, he acquired the name of Beau and reigned near thirteen; during which Clerc, or the Scholar; but his application time he oppressed his people in every forın to sedentary pursuits abated nothing of the of tyranny and infult. He was equally activity and vigilance of his government: void of learning, principle, and honour; and though the learning of that age was haughty, passionate, and ungrateful; a better fitted to corrupt than improve the fcoffer at religion, a scourge to the clergy; understanding, his natural good sense prevain-glorious, talkative, rapacious, lavish, served itself untainted both from the peand diffolute; and an inveterate enemy to dantry and superstition which were then so the English, though he owed his crown to prevalent among men of letters. His their valour and fidelity, when the Norman temper was very susceptible of the sentiJords intended to expel him from the ments as well of friendship as resentment; throne. In return for this instance of and his ambition, though high, might be their loyalty, he took all opportunities to esteemed moderate, had not his conduct fleece and en save them; and at one time towards his brother shewed, that he was imprisoned fifty of the best families in the too much disposed to sacrifice to it all the kingdom, on pretence of killing his deer; maxims of justice and equity. Died De. so that they were compelled to purchase cember 1, 1135, aged 67, having reigned their liberty at the expence of their wealth, 35 years.
Hume. though not before they had undergone the fiery ordeal. He lived in a scandalous
$48. Another Characler of HENRY I. commerce with prostitutes, professing his contempt for marriage; and having no
Henry was of a middle stature and robust legitimate iflue, the crown devolved to his make, with dark brown hair, aud blue sebrother Henry, who was so intent upon the
rene eyes. He was facetious, fluent, and succession, that he paid very little regard affable to his favourites. His capacity, to the funcral of the deceased king.
naturally good, was improved and cultiSmollett.
vated in such a manner, that he acquired
the name of Beau Clerc by his learning. By the hand of Tyrrel, a French gentleman, He was cool, cautious, politic, and pene. remarkable for his address in archery, attending trating; his courage was
unquestioned, him in the recreation of hunting, as William and his fortitude invincible. He was vinhad dismounted after a chace. Tyrrel, impatient dictive, cruel, and implacable, inexorable to thew his dexterity, let fly at a stag which fud. denly farted before him the arrow glancing tion of justice; and, though temperate in
to cffenders, rigid and severe in the execufrom a tree, struck the king in his breaft, and inftandy new himn.
his diet, a voluptuary in his amours, which
produced a numerous family of illegiti- the throne of England. His character, both mate issue. His Norman descent and con- in public and private life, is almost without ne&tions with the continent inspired him a blemish; and he seems to have poffeffed with a contempt for the English, whom he every accomplishment, both of body and oppressed in the most tyrannical manner. mind, which makes a man estimable or
Smollett. amiable, He was of a middle itature,
strong, and well proportioned ; his coun§ 49. Character of STEPHEN.
tenance was lively and engaging; his conEngland suffered great miseries during versation aftable and entertaining ; his elothe reign of this prince: but his personal cution easy, persuasive, and ever at comcharacter, allowing for the temerity and mand. He loved peace, but poffeffed both injuftice of his usurpation, appears not li, conduct and bravery in war; was provident able to any great exception; and he seems without timidity; severe in the execution to have been well qualified, had he fuc- of justice without rigour; and temperate ceeded by a just title, to have promoted the without austerity. He preserved health, happiness and prosperity of his subjects. and kept himself from corpulency, to which He was possessed of industry, activity, and he was somewhat inclined, by an abstecourage, to a great degree; was not defi- mious diet, and by frequent exercise, parcient in ability, had the talent of gaining ticularly by hunting. When he could enjoy men's affections; and, notwithstanding his leisure, hé recreated himself in learned precarious fituation, never indulged him- conversation, or in reading; and he cultifelf in the exercise of any cruelty of re vated his natural talents by study, above venge. His advancement to the throne any prince of his time. His affections, as procured him neither tranquillity nor hap- well as his enmities, were warm and durapiness. Died 1154.
Hume. ble; and his long experience of ingratitude 50. Another Character of STEPHEN.
and infidelity of men never destroyed the
natural sensibility of his temper, which Stephen was a prince of great courage, disposed him to friendship and society. fortitude, and activity, and might have His character has been transmitted to us reigned with the approbation of his people, by many writers who were his contempohad he not been harassed by the efforts raries; and it resembles extremely, in its of a powerful competitor, which obliged most remarkable strokes, that of his ma him to take such measures for his safety ternal grandfather, Henry I.excepting only as were inconsistent with the dictates of that ambition, which was a ruling passion honour, which indeed his ambition prompt- in both, found not in the first Henry such ed him to forego, in his first endeavours to unexceptionable means of exerting itself, ascend the throne. His necessities after- and pushed that prince into measures which wards compelled him to infringe the char- were both criminal in themselves, and were ter of privileges he granted at his accef- the cause of further crimes, from which l.is fion; and he was instigated by his jealousy grandson's conduct was happily exempted, and resentment to commit the most flagrant Died 1189.
Hume. outrages against gratitude and found policy. His vices, as a king, seem to have
$ 52. Another Chara 7er of HENRY II., been the effect of troubles in which he was
Thus died Henry, in the fifty-seventh involved; for, as a man, he was brave, year of his age (Hume fays 58) and open, and liberal; and, during the short thirty-fifth of his reign; in the course of calm that succeeded the tempest of his which he had, on fundry occasions, dif. reign, he made a progress through his played all the abilities of a politician, all kingdom, published an edi&t to restrain all the fagacity of a legislator, and all the rapine and violence, and disbanded the fo- magnanimity of a hero. He lived revered reign mercenaries who had preyed so long above all the princes of his time; and his on his people.
Smollett. death was deeply lamented by his subjects, 51. Chara&ter of HENRY II.
whose happiness seems to have been the
chief aim of all his endeavours. He not Thus died, in the 58th year of his age, only enacted wholesome laws, but saw them and thirty-fifth of his reign, the greatest executed with great punctuality. He was prince of his time for wisdom, virtue, and generous, even to admiration, with regard ability, and the most powerful in extent of to those who committed offences against dominion, of all those that had ever filled his own person; but he never forgave the
injuries that were offered to his people, the lion-hearted, cæur de lion. He passionfor atrocious crimes were punished severely ately loved glory; and as his conduct in without respect of persons. He was of a the field was not inferior to his valour, he middle fiature, and the most exact propor. feems to have pofleffed every talent neceftion; his countenance was round, fair, and sary for acquiring it: his resentinents also reddy; his blue eyes were mild and en were high, his pride unconquerable, and gaging, except in a transport of paflion, his subjects, as well as his neighbours, had when they sparkled like lightning, to the therefore reason to apprchend, from the terror of the beholders. He was broad- continuance of his reign, a perpetual scene chefted, strong, muscular, and inclined to of blood and violence. Of an impetuous be corpulent, though he prevented the bad and vehement spirit, he was distinguished effects of this difpofition by hard exercise by all the good as well as the bad qualities and continual fatigue; he was temperate which are incident to that character. He in his meals, even to a degree of absti was open, frank, generous, fincere, and nence, and feidom or ever fat down., except brave; he was revengeful, domineering, at supper; he was eloquent, agrecable, ambitious, haughty, and cruel, and was and faceticus ; remai kabiy courteous and thus better calculated to dazzle men by the polite; compassionate to all in difirefs; so fplendour of his enterprizes, than either to charitable, that he constantly allotted one promote their happiness, or his own grantenth of his houshold provisions to the poor, deur by a sound and well-regulated policy. and in the time of dearth he maintained ten As military talents make great impression thousand indigent pertons, fioin the begin- on the people, he seems to have been much ning of spring till the end of autumn. His beloved by his English subjects; and he is talents, naturally good, he had cultivated remarked to have been the first prince of with great assiduity, and delighted in the the Norman line who bore a fincere affecconversation of learned men, to whom he tion and regard for them. He passed, howwas a generous benefactor. Flis memory ever, only four months of his reign in that was so furprisingly tenacious, that he ne kingdom: the crufade employed him near ver forgot a face nor a circumltance that three years : he was detained about four was worth remembering. Though supe- months in captivity; the rest of his reign rior to his conteniporaries in itrength, was spent either in war, or preparations riches, true courage, and military skill; for war againit France : and he was so he never engaged in war without reluce pleased with the fame which he had actance, and was to averie to bloodshed, that quired in the East, that he seemed deterhe exprefled an ur.common grief at the mined, notwith/tanding all his pait misfor. lofs of every private foldier: yet he was tunes, to have further exhausted his kingnot exempt from human frailties; his pas. dom, and to have exposed himself to new fions, naturally violent, often hurried him hazards, by conducting another expedition to excess; he was prone to anger, tranf- against the infidels. Died April 6, 1199. ported with the luit of power, and parti, aged 42. Reigned ten years.
Hume. cularly accused of incontinence, not only in the affair of Rosamord, whom he is faid . $ 54. Ancther Charafler of RICHARD I. to have concealed in a labyrinth at Wood This renowned prince was tall, strong, Itock, from the jealous enquiry of his wife, straight, and well-proportioned. His arms but also in a supposed commerce with the were remarkably long, his eyes blue, and French princess Adalais, who was bred in full of vivacity; his hair was of a yellowish England as the future wife of his son Ric colour; his countenance fair and comely, chard. This infamous breach of honourand and his air majestic. He was endowed hospitality, if he was actually guilty, is the with good natural understanding; his pefonleft itain upon his character ; though netration was uncommon; he possessed a the fact is doubiful, and we hope the charge fund of manly eloquence; his conversation wntrue.
Smollett. was spirited, and he was admired for his
talents of repartee; as for his courage and $ 53. Character of RICHARD I.
ability in war, both Europe and Asia se: The most fining part of this prince's found with his praise. The Saracens filled character was his military talents; no man their children with the terror of his name; ever in that romantic age carried courage and Salatine, who was an accomplised and intrepidity to a grearer lieight; and prince, admired his valour to such a dethis quality gained hina the appellation of gree of enthufiafm, that immediately after
Richard had defeated him on the plains of The prejudices against this prince were Joppa, he sent him a couple of fine Ara- fo violent, that he was believed to have sent bian horses, in token of his esteem; a po- an einbafly to the emperor of Morocco, lite compliment, which Richard returned and to have offered to change his religion with magnificent presents. These are the and become Mahometan, in order to purshining parts of his character, which, how. chase the protection of that monarch ; but, ever, cannot dazzle the judicious observer though that story is told us on plausible so much, but that he may perceive a num- authority, it is in itself utterly improbable, ber of blemishes, which no historian has except that there is nothing so incredibeen able to efface from the memory of ble as may not become likely from the this celebrated monarch. His ingratitude folly and wickedness of John. Died 1216. and want of filial affection are unpardon
Hume, able. He was proud, haughty, ambitious,
$ 56. Another Character of John. choleric, cruel, vindictive, and debauched; nothing could equal his rapaciousness but John was in his perfon taller than the his profusion, and, indeed, the one was the middle size, of a good thape and agreeable effeèt of the other; he was a tyrant to his countenance ; with respect to his disposiwife, as well as to his people, who groaned tion, it is strongly delicated in the transunder his taxations to such a degree, that actions of his reign. If his understanding even the glory of his victories did not ex. was contemptible, his heart was the object empe him from their execrations; in a of deteítation ; we find him flothful, shalword, he has been aptly compared to a low, proud, imperious, cowardly, libidilion, a species of animals which he resem- nous, and inconstant, abject in adversity, bled not only in courage, but likewise in and overbearing in success ; contemned! ferocity.
Smollett. and hated by his subjects, over whom he $ 55. Charafer of John.
tyrannized to the utmolt of his power; ab
horred by the clergy, whom he oppressed The character of this prince is nothing with exa&tions; and despited by all the but a complication of vices, cqually mean neighbouring princes of Europe: though and odious, ruinous to himself and de- he might have passed through life without frutive to his people: cowardice, inacti- incurring such a load of odium and convity, folly, levity, licentiousness, ingrati tempt, had not his reign been perplexed by tude, treachery, tyranny, and cruelty; all the turbulence of his barons, the rapacithese qualities too evidently appear in the ousness of the pope, and the ambition several incidents of his life, to give us room of such a monarch as Philip Auguitus; to suspect that the disagreeable picture has his character could never have aiforded been anywise overcharged by the preju- one quality that would have exempted dice of the ancient hiflorians. It is hard hin from the disgust and scorn of his to say, whether his conduct to his father, people: nevertheless, it must be owned, his brother, bis nephew, or his subjects, that his reign is not altogether barren 435 most culpable; or whether his crimes of laudable transactions. He regulated in these respects were not even exceeded the form of the government in the city by the baseness which appeared in his tranf- of London, and ieveral other places in actions with the king of France, the pope, the kingdom. He was the first who coined and the barons. His dominions, when they sterling moirey. devolved to him by the death of his bro
Smollcte. ther, were more extensive than have ever foce his time been ruled by any English
ý 57. Character of Henry III. monarch. But he first lost, by his miscon The most obvious circumstance of Henry due, the flourishing provinces in France; the Third's charačier, is his incapacity for the ancient patrimony of his family. He government, which rendered hi'n as much subjected his kingdom to a shameful vaf a prisoner in the hands of his own minifalage, under the ice of Rome; he saw the sters and favourites, and as little at his own prerogatives of his crown diminished by difpofal, as when detained a captive in the la v, and still more reduced by faction; and hands of his enemies. From this fource, bo died at last when in danger of being to- rather than from insincerity and treachery, tally expelled by a foreign power, and of arose his negligence in observing his pro. either ending his life miserably in a prison, mises; and he was too easily induced, for or seeking shelter as a fugitive from the the sake of present convenience, to facripursuit of his enemies.
3 D 2
fice the lasting advantages arising from the sums he levied from his subjects, and trust and confidence of his people. Hence though his occasions were never so prefwere derived his profusion to favourites, fing, he could not help squandering away his attachment to strangers, the variable- his money upon worthless favourites, withness of his conduct, his haliy resentments, out considering the difficulty he always and his sudden forgiveness and return of found in obtaining supplies from parliaaffection. Instead of reducing the danger- ment.
Smollert. ous power of his nobles, by obliging them to observe the laws towards their inferiors, $59. Charafer of EDWARD I. and setting them the falutary example in
The enterprizes finished by this prince, his own government, he was seduced to
and the projects which he formed, and imitate their conduct, and to make his ar- brought very near to a conclusion, were bitrary will, or rather that of his ministers, more prudent and more regularly conduetthe rule of his actions.
ed, and more advantageous to the solid inInstead of accommodating himself, by a
terest of this kingdom, than those which strict frugality, to the embarrassed situation
were undertaken in any reign either of his to which his revenue had been left, by the ancestors or successors.' He retored authomilitary expedition of his uncle, the disi- rity to the government, disordered by the pations of his father, and the ufurpations weakness of his father; he maintained the of the barons; he was tempted to levy laws against all the efforts of his turbulent money by irregular exactions, which, with- barons; he fully annexed to the crown the ont enriching himself, impoverished, or at principality of Wales; he took the wisef least disgusted, his people. Of all men, na and moit effectual measures for reducing ture seemed least to have fitted him for Scotland to a like condition ; and though being a tyrant; yet are there instances of the equity of this latter enterprize may reaoppression in his reign, which, though de- fonably be questioned, the circumstances rived from the precedents left him by his of the two kingdoms promised such success, predecessors, had been carefully guarded and the advantage was so visible, of uniting against by the great charter; and are in- the whole island under one head, that those consistent with all rules of good govern- who give great indulgence to reasons of ment: and, on the whole, we may say, that state in the measures of princes, will not be greater abilities, with his good dispositions, apt to regard this part of his conduct with would have prevented him from falling much severity, into his faults; or, with worse dispositions, But Edward, however exceptionable his would have enabled him to maintain and character may appear on the head of justice, defend them. Died November 16, 1272, is the model of a politic and warlike king. aged 64. Reigned 56 years,
He possessed industry, penetration, courage, Hume.
vigour, and enterprize. He was frugal in $58. Another Character of Henry III.
all expences that were not necessary; he
knew how to open the public treasures on Henry was of a middle size and robust make, and his countenance had a peculiar
proper occasions; he punished criminals
with severity; he was gracious and affable calt from his left eye-lid, which hung down to his fervants and courtiers; and being of to far as to cover part of his eye. The
a majestic figure, expert at all bodily exerparticulars of his character may be gather- cife, and in the main well-proportioned in ed from the detail of his conduct. He was
his limbs, notwithstanding the great length certainly a prince of very mean talents; irresolute, inconftant, and capricious ; proud, tivate the populace by his exterior appear.
of his legs, he was as well qualified to capinsolent, and arbitrary; arrogant in prof- ance, as to gain the approbation of nen of perity, and abject in adversity; profase, sense by his more folid virtues. Died sağacious, and choleric, though defitute July 7, 1307, aged 69. Reigned 35 years. of liberality, economy, and courage ; yet :
Hume. his continence was praise-worthy, as well as his aversion to cruclty; for he contented $ 60. Anorber Charneler of EDWARD I. himself with punishing the rebels in their He was a prince of very dignified ap. effects, when he might have glutted, his .pearance, talt in ftature; regular and revenge with their blood. He was pro-. comely in his features; with keen piercdigal even to excess, and therefore always ing eyes, and of an aspect that commandin necesity. Notwithstanding the greated reverence and elleein. His constitution