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for his endeavours to discredit the popish plot; and upon one occasion he says, Lord Shaftesbury railed so at him that he went near him no more. I have by me the manuscript of one Mr. Wyche, * who had an office under Lord Shaftesbury, wherein he says that Lord Shaftesbury slighted the bishop to a very great degree, and shunned his acquaintance. This contempt the bishop might not deserve, and, perhaps, could not very well bear. He is exceedingly unhappy in his estimate of Lord Shaftesbury's character, and mistaken in almost every fact which he relates of him. This will be made evident from the journals of parliament, and very authentic vouchers.
Among the papers belong- He was accordingly trusted by ing to the Shaftesbury family, Lord Shaftesbury in transcribhas been found a character of ing papers of the utmost conthis Mr. Wyche, drawn up by sequence, from the year 1669 a person well acquainted with or 1670, to the end of Lord him. It will probably be ac- Shaftesbury's life. He took ceptable to the reader.
down thoughts as they were “ He was a man of the law, dictated by the great men at and clerk to Mr. Justice Sir Sa- meetings; one in particular muel Eyre. Mr. Justice Eyre from Lord Holles, near the end was a standing council concern- of his life. The late Lord ed in Lord Shaftesbury's af- Chief Justice Eyre, who had fairs, and he recommended such a thorough knowledge of him to Lord Shaftesbury as a Mr. Wyche's integrity, used faithful amanuensis, who might to say of him, that he had, at be trusted upon any occasion. the latter end of King Charles the Second's time, written more occasioned his being called treason than any man in the upon sometimes to give. The kingdom. He was a man of truth of this is known to seslow parts, but scrupulously veral people now living. He exact in matters of testimony, lived at Salisbury till his which his great length of days death."
Rapin, in his account of the transactions of those times, had no other guide than the authors before mentioned; yet he sees through their prejudices very plainly, and cautions his readers against too implicit a belief in them. This he does merely from a cool consideration of what they relate, without a knowledge of any private memoirs to bias him in Lord Shaftesbury's favour. I cannot help here taking notice of one passage in Rapin. When he makes his observations on Father Orleans's character of Lord Shaftesbury, and hints at the partiality of it, he says, “Mr. Locke speaks otherwise of him; it is true he says nothing advantageous of him in respect of religion.” Rapin would not have made this last observation, if he had considered, that Mr. Locke's is not a complete and regular account of Lord Shaftesbury: it is only a memorandum of some few facts which he wrote down as they occurred to his memory, and for fear they should slip out of it. By the style they are plainly bis rough draught; and are so indigested, that some things after the Restoration are set down previous to others which happened before it. Lord Shaftesbury was, however, very regular in his attendance on divine worship; he kept a chaplain constantly in his house. This gentleman's name was Highmore. His lordship was the great patron of the eminent Dr. Whitchcot, who lived very much with him, and, together with Mr. Locke, was one of his most constant companions. The doctor preached most of his sermons that are printed before him; and the last Lord Shaftesbury * is said to have published, from a manuscript copy of his grandfather's lady, the first volume of his works, called Select Discourses.
Bishop Burnet represents Lord Shaftesbury to have been variable in his principles; and says,
* It hath been supposed of Stephens, rector of Sutton, in late, that the Select Discourses Surry, and not by the third of Dr. Whitchcot were pub- Earl of Shaftesbury.9 lished by the Rev. Mr. William
' I know not upon what ground this supposition proceeds. The article “Shaftesbury,” in the General Dictionary, which we have seen was carefully revised by the fourth earl, declares that "it was under his father's particular inspection that a volume of Dr. Whichcot's select sermons, with a preface, was published in 1698, from copies of them which had been taken in short-hand as they were delivered from the pulpit.”
that he was not ashamed to reckon
many turns he had made; and that he did this with so much vanity and little discretion, that he lost many by it.10
It seems very improbable that so wise a man, so versed in affairs that required secrecy, should, for no reason, with no views, lay himself open to this censure. Besides, the bishop, in fact, gives an answer to himself, by what he says in the same sentence, “ that Lord Shaftesbury was to the last much trusted by all the discontented party.” I have some hopes that by the following sheets he will appear to have acted very consistently; that from the beginning to the end of his life he maintained the same principles; and that the changings and fuctuations, at the time he lived in, were in the government, but not in his conduct.
As to later writers of the English history, I shall take no particular notice of them in this place; because most of them have only repeated the accounts of Lord Shaftesbury which have been given by the authors already mentioned.
10 In a note upon this passage of Burnet, written by the first Earl of Dartmouth, but published since this work was originally printed, his lordship says, “I was told by one that was very conversant with him, that he had a constant maxim never to fall out with anybody, let the provocation be never so great, which he said he had found great benefit by all his life; and the reason he gave for it was, that he did not know how soon it might be necessary to have them again for his best friends."
Nothing is more difficult than to root out those prejudices which have been long growing in our minds; yet nothing more deserves the persevering attention of a rational creature, who must otherwise live in a constant subservience to the little passions of those who implanted them. In investigating the character of Shaftesbury, let us therefore exercise our own reason, and enter into a calm examination of the facts before us.
These lie open to every one's understanding, and are the best, if not the only evidence, we can rely upon in our judgments of any man's public character. In his private one we must depend on the authority of his relations, his friends, and those who were chiefly about him. And these have concurred in the same testimony with regard to Lord Shaftesbury, that he filled up all the private offices of life, as a master, a friend, a husband, and a father, with great humanity, integrity, and affection. Some of his letters to his lady, that are still preserved, are proofs of the tenderness which he had for her.
Though his engagements in public affairs were •