Page images

not content with all that opulence, The Character of Dileen Elizabeth. but by authorizing the sheriffs, who collected his revenues in the several There are few personages in hiscounties, to practise the most grie- tory who have been more exposed vous vexations and abuses, for the to the calumny of enemies, and the raising of them higher, by a perpe- adulation of friends, than queen tual auction of the crown lands, so Elizabeth, and yet there scarce is that none of his tenants could be se. any whose reputation has been more cure of possession, if any other certainly determined by the unani. would come and offer more; by va- mous consent of posterity. The unrious iniquities in the court of ex. usual length of her administration, chequer, which was entirely Nor- and the strong features of 'her chaman; by forfeitures wrongfully ta-racter, were able to overcome all ken; and lastly, by arbitrary and prejudices; and obliging her deillegal taxations, he drew into his tractors to abate much of their intreasury much too great a propor- vectives, and her admirers sometion of the wealth of his kingdom. what of their panegyrics, have at

It must however be owned, that last, in spite of political factions, if his avarice was insatiably and un- and what is more, of religious anijustly rapacious, it was not meanly mosities, produced a uniform judg. parsimonious, nor of that sordid ment with regard to her conduct. kind which brings on a prince dis- Her vigour, her constancy, her honour and contempt. He support. magnanimity, her penetration, vigied the dignity of his crown with a lance, and address, are allowed to decent magnificence, and though merit the highest praises, and aphe never was lavish, he sometimes pear not to have been surpassed by was liberal, more especially to his any person who ever filled a throne: soldiers and to the church. But a conduct less rigorous, less impelooking on money as a necessary rious, more sincere, more indulgent means of maintaining and increas- to her people, would have been reing power, he desired to accumu- quisite to form a perfect character. late as much as he could, rather, By the force of her mind, she conperhaps, from an ambitious than a trolled all her more active and covetous nature; at least his avarice stronger qualities, and prevented was subservient to his ambition, and them from running into excess : he laid up wealth in his coffers, as her heroism was exempt from all he did arms in his magazines, to be temerity, her frugality from ayadrawn out when any proper occa- rice, her friendship from partiality, sion required it, for the defence and her enterprize from turbulency, and enlargement of his dominions. a vain ambition. She guarded not

Upon the whole he had many herself with equal care or equal sucgreat qualities, but few virtues; and cess from lesser infirmities; the if those actions that most particu- rivalship of beauty, the desire of larly distinguish the man or the admiration, the jealousy of love, and king are impartially considered, we the sallies of anger. shall find that in his character there Her singular talents for governis much to admire, but still more ment were founded equally on her to abhor.

temper and on her capacity. Endow. Lyttelton. ed with a great commarid over her. sels, she soon obtained an uncon- it has surmounted the prejudices trolled ascendant over the people; both of faction and of bigotry, yet and while she merited all their es- lies still exposed to another prejuteem by her real virtues, she also dice, which is more durable beengaged their affections by her pre- cause more natural, and which, tended ones.

Few sovereigns of according to the different views in England succeeded to the throne which we survey her, is capable in more difficult circumstances; either of exalting beyond measure, and none ever conducted the go- or diminishing the lustre of her vernment with such uniform suc- character. This prejudice is cess and felicity. Though unac- founded on the consideration of quainted with the practice of tole- her sex. When we contemplate ration, the true secret for managing her as a woman, we are apt to be religious factions, she preserved her struck with the highest admiration people, by her superior prudence, of her qualities and extensive cafrom those confusions in which pacity ; but we are also apt to retheological controversy had involv- quire some more softness of dised all the neighbouring nations ; position, some greater lenity of and, though her eneinies were the temper, some of those amiable most powerful princes of Europe, weaknesses by which her sex is the most active, the most enter- distinguished.' But the true meprizing, the least scrupulous, she thod of estimating her merit is to was able by hier vigour to make lay aside all these considerations, deep impressions on their state; and to consider her merely as a her own greatness meanwhile re- rational being, placed in authority, mained untouched and unimpaired. and entrusted with the government

The wise ministers and brave of mankind. We may find it difwarriors, who flourished during ficult to reconcile our fancy to her her reign, share the praise of her as a wife or a mistress; but her success; but, instead of lessening qualities as a sovereign, though the applause due to her, they with some considerablc exceptions, make great addition to it: they are the object of undisputed apowed, all of them, their advance plause and approbation. ment to her choice; they were

Hume. supported by her constancy; and, with all their ability, they were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over her. In her fami. Speech of Demosthenes to the Atheiy, in her court, in her kingdom, nians, exciting them to pirosecute she remained equally mistress. the Il’ar against Philip with Vin The force of the tender passions gour. was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; | Athenians! and the combat which her victory Had this assembly been called visibly cost her serves only to dis- together on an unusual occasion, play the firmincss of her resolu. I should have waited to hear the tion, and the loftiness of her am- opinions of others before I had ofbitious sentiments.

sered my own; and if what they The fame of this princess, though proposed had seemed to me judiTOL. I.

4 А

cious, I should have been silent; | the dignity of the Athenian state; if otherwise, I should have given and this within these few years my reasons for differing from past. My intention in recalling to those who had spoken before me. your memory this part of our hisBut as the subject of our present tory is, to show you that you have deliberations has been often treat- no reason to fear any enemy, if ed by others, I hope I shall be ex- your operations be wisely planned, cused, though I rise up first to and vigorously executed. offer my opinion. Had the schemes The enemy has indeed gained formerly proposed been success- considerable advantages by treaty ful, there had been no occasion as well as by conquest; for it is to for the present consultation. be expected, that princes and states

First, then, my countrymen, let will court the alliance of those who me intreat you not to look upon scem powerful enough to protect the state of our affairs as despe- both themselves and their conferate, though it be unpromising: derates. But, my countrymen, for, as on one hand, to compare the though you have of late been too present with times past, mat- supinely negligent of what conters have indeed a very gloomy cerned you so nearly, if you will aspect; so, on the other, if we ex- even now resolve to exert yourtend our views to future times, I selves unanimously, each accordhave good hopes that the distresses ing to his respective abilities and we are now under will prore of circumstances, the rich by contrigreater advantage to us than if we buting liberally towards the exhad never fallen into them. If it pence of the war, and the rest by be asked, what probability there is presenting themselves to be enrolof this, I answer, I hope it will led to make up the deficiencies of appear that it is our egregious the army and navy; if, in short, misbehaviour alone that has brought you will at last resume your own us into these disadvantageous cir- character and act like yourselves, cumstances; from which follows it is not yet too late, with the help the necessity of altering our con- of Heaven, to recover what you duct, and the prospect of bettering have lost, and to inflict the just our circumstances by doing so. vengeance on your insolent ene

If we had nothing to accuse our my, selves of, and yet found our affairs

But when will you, my countryin their present disorderly condi- men, when will you rouze from tion, we should not have room left your indolence, and bethink youreven for the hope of recovering selves of what is to be done ?ourselves. But, my countrymen, When you are forced to it by some it is known to you, partly by your fatal disaster? when irresistible own remembrance, and partly by necessity drives you? What think information from others, how glo- you of the disgraces which are alriously the Lacedæmonian war was ready come upon you ? is not the sustained, in which we engaged in past sufficient to stimulate your defence of our own rights, against activity? or do ye wait for somean enemy powerful and formida- thing yet to come, more forcible ble; in the whole conduct of which and urgent? How long will you mar nothing happened unworthy amuse yourselves with enquiring of one another after news as you O shame to the Athenian name! ramble idly about the streets? what We undertook this war against news so strange ever came to A- Philip in order to obtain redress of thens, as that a Macedonian should grievances, and to force him to in. subdue this state, and lord it over demnify us for the injuries he had Greece? Again, you ask one ano- done us; and we have conducted ther, “ What! Philip dead?” it so successfully, that we shall by “ No,” it is answered; “ but he and by think ourselves happy if we is very ill.” How foolish this cu- escape being defeated and ruined. riosity! What is it to you whether For, who can think that a prince Philip is sick or well? suppose he of his restless and ambitious temwere dead, your inactivity would per will not improve the opportusoon raise up against yourselves nities and advantages which our another Philip in his stead; for it indolence and timidity present him? is not his strength that has made will he give over his designs against him what he is, but your indolence, us, without being obliged to it? and which has of late been such that who will oblige him? who will reyou secm neither in a condition to strain his fury? shall we wait for astake any advantage of the enemy, sistance from some unknown counnor to keep it if it were gained by try? In the name of all that is sacred others for you.

and all that is dear to us, let us make Wisdom directs, that the con- an attempt with what forces we ductors of a war always anticipate can raise, if we should not be able the operations of the enemy, in- | to raise as many as we would wish: stead of waiting to see what steps let us do somewhat to curb this he shall take: whereas you, Athe- insolent tyrant of his pursuits. Let nians, though you be masters of all us not trifle away the time in hearthat is necessary for war, as ship- ing the ineffectual wranglings of oping, cavalry, infantry, and funds, rators, while the enemy is strengthhave not the spirit to make the ening himself and we are deciinproper use of your advantages, but ing, and our allies growing more suffer the enemy to dictate to you and more cold to our interest, and every motion you are to make. If more apprehensive of the conseyou hear that Philip is in the Cher- quences of continuing on our side. sonesus, you order troops to be

Demost. Crat. sent thither; if at Pyiæ, forces are to be detached to secure that post. Wherever he makes an attack, there you stand upon your defence; The Character of Francis I, with you attend him in all his motions, some Reflections 07t me Rivale as soldiers do their general; but ship with Chartes '. you never think of striking out of yourselves any bold and effectual Francis died at Rambouillet, on scheme for bringing him to rea- the last day of March, in the fiftyson, by being beforehand with him. third year of his age, and the thir. A pitiful manner of carrying on ty-third year of his reign. During war at any time; but, in the criti- twenty-eight years of that time, an cal circumstances you are now in, avowed rivalship subsisted between utterly ruinous.

him and the emperor, which involved not only their own dominions, couragement could turn him aside but the greater part of Europe in from the execution of it. The wars, prosecuted with more vio- success of their enterprises was as lent animosity, and drawn out to a different as their characters, and greater length, than had been was uniformly influenced by them. known in any former period. | Francis, by his impetuous activity, Many circumstances contributed often disconcerted the emperor's to both. Their animosity was best laid schemes. Charles, by a founded in opposition of interest, more calın but steady prosecution heightened by personal emulation, of his designs, checked the rapidiand exasperated not only by mu- ty of his rival's career, and baffled tual injuries, but by reciprocal in- or repulsed his most vigorous efsults. At the same time, whatever forts. The former, at the opening advantage one seemed to possess of a war or of a campaign, broke towards gaining the ascendant, was in upon his enemy with the viowonderfully balanced by some fa- lence of a torrent, and carried all vourable circumstance, peculiar to before him; the latter, waiting anthe other. The emperor's domi- til he saw the force of his rival bepions were of great extent; the gip to abate, recovered in the end, French king's lay more compact: not only all that he had lost, but Francis governed his kingdom | made new acquisitions. Few of with absolute power; that of Char- the French monarch's attempts les was limited, but he supplied towarıls conquest, whatever prothe want of authority by address: mising aspect they might wear at the troops of the former were first, were conducted to a happy more impetuous and enterprising; issue; many of the emperor's enthose of the latter, better disci-terprises, even after they appeared plined, and more patient of fa- desperate and impracticable, tertigue. The talents and abilities minated in the most prosperous of the two monarchs were as dif-manner. Francis was dazzled with ferent as the advantages which the splendour of an undertaking; they possessed, and contributed no Charles was allured by the prosless to prolong the contest between pect of its turning to his advantage. them. Francis took his resolu- The degree, however, of their tions suddenly, prosecuted them at comparative merit and reputation first with warmth, and pushed has not been fixed either by a strict them into execution with a most scrutiny into their abilities for goadventurous courage; but, being vernnient, or by an impartial condesutute of the perseverance ne- sideration of the greatness and successary to surmount difficulties cess of their undertakings; and he often abandoned his designs, or Francis is one of those monarchs relaxed the vigour of pursuit from wo occupies a liigher rank in the impatience, and sometimes from temple of fanie than either his talevity

lents or performances entitle him Charles deliberated long, and to hold. This pre-eminence he determined with coolness; but, owed to many different circumhaving once fixed his plan, he ad- stances. The superiority which hered to it with inflexible obsti- Charles acquired by the victory of nacy, and neither danger nor dis- Pavia, and which from that period

« PreviousContinue »