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reading is designed for much talk and little knowledge, and I have nothing to say to it. But I am here inquiring into the conduct of the understanding in its progress towards knowledge; and to those who aim at that, I may say, that he who fair and softly goes steadcourse that points ily forward in a right, will sooner be at his journey's end, than he that runs after every one he meets, though he gallop all day fullspeed.
To which let me add, that this way of thinking on and profiting by what we read, will be a clog and rub (1) to any one only in the beginning; when custom
and exercise has made it familiar, it will be dispatched, in the most occasions, without resting or interruption in the course of our reading. The motions and views of a mind exercised that way, are wonderfully quick; and a man used to such sort of reflections, sees as much at one glimpse, as would require a long discourse to lay before another, and make out in an entire and gradual deduction. Besides, that when the first difficulties are over, the delight and sensible advantage it brings, mightily encourages and enlivens the mind in reading, which, without this, is very improperly called study.
EDWARD HYDE was born in Wiltshire, in the year 1608; his parents intended him to enter the church, but this career not taking his fancy, he studied for the bar, at which he highly distinguished himself. Upon entering parliament in 1640 he quitted the legal profession and gave himself up to public affairs, in which he sided with the Royalists. Charles I. while at Oxford, appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer, and created him a knight.-From 1649 to 1651 he was employed by the exiled Charles as ambassador at Madrid. He then joined this unfortunate sovereign in Paris, and officiated for him as Lord Chancellor. At the Restoration Hyde became speaker of the house of Commons, and had a large share in directing the government. By the marriage of his daughter with the Duke of York, he became the grandfather of two sovereigns, Mary and Anne. In 1665 he was
compelled to give up the great seal, at the command
to him that he believed it to be just. It will not be unnecessary to add a He had a tenderness and compassion short character of his person, that pos- of nature, which restrained him from terity may know the inestimable loss ever doing a hard-hearted thing: and which the nation then underwent, in therefore he was so apt to grant parbeing deprived of a Prince, whose ex- don to malefactors, that the judges of ample would have had a greater in- the land represented to him the damage to the public, that fluence upon the manners and piety of and insecurity the nation, than the most strict laws flowed from such his indulgence. And then he restrained himself from pardoncan have. To speak first of his private a man, before the ing either murders or highway robqualifications as mention of his princely and royal vir- beries, and quickly discerned the fruits tues; he was, if ever any, the most of his severity by a wonderful reforworthy of the title of an honest man; mation of those enormities. very punctual and regular in his deso great a lover of justice, that no temptation could dispose him to a wrong-votions; he was never known to enter ful action, except it was so disguised
upon his recreations or sports, though never so early in the morning, before he had been at public prayers; so that
on hunting-days his chaplains were bound to a very early attendance. He was likewise very strict in observing the hours of his private cabinet devotions; and was so severe an exactor of gravity and reverence in all mention of religion, that he could never endure any light or profane word, with what sharpness of wit soever it was covered: and though he was well pleased and delighted with reading verses made upon any occasion, no man durst bring before him any thing that was profane or unclean. That kind of wit had never any countenance then. He was so great an example of conjugal affection, that they who did not imitate him in that particular durst not brag of their liberty: and he did not only permit, but direct his bishops to prosecute those scandalous vices, in the ecclesiastical courts, against persons of eminence and near relation to his service.
His kingly virtues had some mixture and allay, (1) that hindered them from shining in full lustre, and from producing those fruits they should have been attended with. He was not, in his nature, very bountiful, though he gave very much. This appeared more after the Duke of Buckingham's death, after which those showers fell very rarely; and he paused too long in giving, which made those to whom he gave less sensible of the benefit. He kept state to the full, which made his Court very orderly, no man presuming to be seen in a place where he had no pretence to be. He saw and observed men long, before he received them about his person: and did not love strangers nor very confident men. He was a patient hearer of causes, which he frequently accustomed himself to at the Council Board; and judged very well, and was dexterous in the mediating part: so that he often put an end to causes by persuasion, which the stubbornness of men's humours made dilatory in courts of justice.
but, in his riper years, not very enterprising. He had an excellent understanding, but was not confident enough of it: which made him oftentimes change his own opinion for a worse, and follow the advice of men that did not judge so well as himself. This made him more irresolute than the conjuncture of his affairs would admit. If he had been of a rougher and more imperious nature, he would have found more respect and duty; and his not applying some severe cures to approaching evils, proceeded from the lenity of his nature and the tenderness of his conscience, which, in all cases of blood, made him choose the softer way, and not hearken to severe counsels, how reasonably soever urged. This only restrained him from pursuing his advantage in the first Scottish expedition, when, humanly speaking, he might have reduced that nation to the most entire obedience that could have been wished. But no man can say he had then many who advised him to it, but the contrary, by a wonderful indisposition all his council had to the war, or any other fatigue. He was always a great lover of the Scottish nation, having not only been born there but educated by that people, and besieged by them always, having few English about him till he was King; and the major number of his servants being still of that nation, who he thought could never fail him. And among these, no man had such an ascendant over him, by the humblest insinuations, as Duke Hamilton had.
As he excelled in all other virtues. so in temperance he was so strict, that he abhorred all debauchery to that degree, that, at a great festival solemnity where he once was, when very many of the nobility of the English and Scots were entertained, being told by one who withdrew from thence what vast draughts of wine they drank, and 'that there was one Earl who had drunk most of the rest down, and was not himself moved or altered,' the King
He was very fearless in his person; said, 'that he deserved to be hanged;
and that Earl coming shortly after into the room where his Majesty was in
some gaiety, to shew how unhurt he was from that battle, the King sent one to bid him withdraw from his Majesty's presence; nor did he in some days after appear before him.
So many miraculous circumstances contributed to his ruin, that men might well think that heaven and earth conspired it. Though he was, from the first declension of his power, so much betrayed by his own servants, that there were very few who remained faithful to him, yet that treachery proceeded not always from any treasonable purpose to do him any harm, but from particular and personal animosities against other men. And afterwards, the terror all men were under of the Parliament, and the guilt they were conscious of themselves, made them watch all opportunities to make themselves gracious to those who could do them good; and so they became spies upon their master, and from one piece of knavery were hardened and confirmed to undertake another; till at last they had no hope of preservation but by the destruction of their master. And after all this, when a man might reasonably believe that less than a universal defection of three nations could not have reduced a great King to so ugly a fate, it is most certain, that in that very hour when he was thus wickedly murdered in the sight of the sun, he had as great a share in the hearts and affections of his subjects in general, was as much beloved, esteemed, and longed for by the people in general of the three nations, as any of his predecessors had ever been. To conclude, he was the worthiest gentleman, the best master, the best friend, the best husband, the best father, and the best Christian, that the age in which he lived produced. And if he were not the greatest king, if he were without some parts and qualities which have made some kings great and happy, no other prince was ever unhappy who was possessed of half his virtues and endowments, and so much without any Kind of vice.
He was one of those men, quos vituperare ne inimici quidem possunt, nisi ut simul laudent; whom his very enemies could not condemn without commend
ing him at the same time: for he could never have done half that mischief without great parts of courage, industry, and judgment. He must have had a wonderful understanding in the natures and humours of men, and as great a dexterity in applying them; who, from a private and obscure birth (though of a good family), without interest or estate, alliance or friendship, could raise himself to such a height, and compound and knead such opposite and contradictory tempers, humours, and interests into a consistence that contributed to his designs and to their own destruction; whilst himself grew insensibly powerful enough to cut off those by whom he had climbed, in the instant that they projected to demolish their own building. What was said of Cinna may very justly be said of him, ausum eum, quæ nemo auderet bonus; perfecisse, quæ a nullo, nisi fortissimo, perfici possent: he attempted those things which no good man durst have ventured on; and achieved those in which none but a valiant and great man could have succeeded. Without doubt, no man with more wickedness ever attempted any thing, or brought to pass what he desired more wickedly, more in the face and contempt of religion and moral honesty; yet wickedness as great as his could never have accomplished these designs, without the assistance of a great spirit, an admirable circumspection and sagacity, and a most magnanimous resolution.
When he appeared first in the parliament, he seemed to have a person in no degree gracious, no ornament of discourse, none of those talents which used to conciliate the affections of the stander-by: yet as he grew into place and authority, his parts seemed to be raised as he had occasion to use them; and when he was to act the part of a great man, he did it without any indecency, notwithstanding the want of custom.
After he was confirmed and invested Protector by the humble Petition and Advice, he consulted with very few upon any action of importance, nor communicated any enterprise he resolved upon, with more than those who were to have principal parts in the execution of it; nor with them sooner than was absolutely necessary. What he once resolved, in which he was not rash, he would not be dissuaded from, nor endure any contradiction of his power and authority; but extorted obedience from them who were not willing to yield it. One time, when he had laid some very extraordinary tax upon the city, one Cony, an eminent fanatic, and one who had heretofore served him very notably, positively refused to pay his part; and loudly dissuaded others from submitting to it, 'as an imposition notoriously against the law, and the property of the subject, which all honest men were bound to defend.' Cromwell sent for him, and cajoled him with the memory of the old kindness and friendship that had been between them; and that of all men he did not expect this opposition from him, in a matter that was so necessary for the good of the commonwealth.' It had been always his fortune to meet with the most rude and obstinate behaviour from those who had formerly been absolutely governed by him; and they commonly put him in mind of some expressions and sayings of his own, in cases of the like nature; so this man remembered him how great an enemy he had expressed himself to such grievances, and had declared, that all who submitted to them, and paid illegal taxes, were more to blame, and greater enemies to their country, than they who had imposed them; and that the tyranny of princes could never be grievous, but by the tameness and stupidity of the people.' When Cromwell saw that he could not convert him, he told him, 'that he had a will as stubborn as his, and he would try which of them two should be master.' Thereupon, with some expressions of reproach and contempt, he committed the man to prison; whose courage was
nothing abated by it; but as soon as the term came, he brought his Habeas Corpus in the King's Bench, which they then called the Upper Bench. Maynard, who was of council with the prisoner, demanded his liberty with great confidence, both upon the illegality of the commitment, and the illegality of the imposition, as being laid without any lawful authority. The judges could not maintain or defend either, and enough declared what their sentence would be; and therefore the protector's attorney required a further day, to answer what had been urged. Before that day, Maynard was committed to the Tower for presuming to question or make doubt of his authority; and the judges were sent for, and severely reprehended for suffering that licence; when they, with all humility, mentioned the law and Magna Charta, Cromwell told them, with terms of contempt and derision, their Magna F--(1) should not control his actions; which he knew were for the safety of the commonwealth.' He asked them, 'who made them judges? whether they had any authority to sit there, but what he gave them? and if his authority were at an end, they knew well enough that would become of themselves; and therefore advised them to be more tender of that which could only preserve them'; and so dismissed them with caution 'that they should not suffer the lawyers to prate what it would not become them to hear.'
Thus he subdued a spirit that had been often. troublesome to the most sovereign power, and made Westminster Hall as obedient and subservient to his commands as any of the rest of his quarters. In all other matters, which did not concern the life of his jurisdiction, he seemed to have great reverence for the law, rarely interposing between party and party As he proceeded with this kind of indignation and haughtiness with those who were refractory, and durst contend with his
(1) An indelicate word, corresponding to the Latin peditum, to which Cromwell added an a, to make it rhyme with Charta.
greatness, so towards all who complied with his good pleasure, and courted his protection, he used great civility, generosity, and bounty.
To reduce three nations, which perfectly hated him, to an entire obedience to all his dictates; to awe and govern those nations by an army that was indevoted to him, and wished his ruin, was an instance of a very prodigious address. But his greatness at home was but a shadow of the glory he had abroad. It was hard to discover which feared him most, France, Spain, or the Low Countries, where his friendship was current at the value he put upon it. As they did all sacrifice their honour and their interest to his pleasure, so there is nothing he could have demanded that either of them would have denied him. To manifest which there needs only two instances. The first is, when those of the valley of Lucerne had unwarily risen in arms against the Duke of Savoy, which gave occasion to the Pope and the neighbouring princes of Italy to call and solicit for their extirpation, and their prince positively resolved upon it, Cromwell sent his agent to the Duke of Savoy, a prince with whom he had no correspondence or commerce, and so engaged the cardinal, and even terrified the pope himself, without so much as doing any grace to the English Roman Catholics (nothing being more usual than his saying, 'that his ships in the Mediterranean should visit Civita Vecchia; and that the sound of his cannon should be heard in Rome'), that the duke of Savoy thought it necessary to restore
that he had taken from them, and did renew all those privileges they had formerly enjoyed and newly forfeited.
chosen. Those of the reformed religion
When they came near the gate
The other instance of his authority was yet greater, and more incredible. no In the city of Nismes, which is one of the fairest in the province of Languedoc, and where those of the religion (1) do most abound, there was a great faction that season when the consuls (who the chief magistrates) were to be
(1) The reformed religion.